Pseudodoxia epidemica: or, enquiries into very many recieved tenents and commonly presumed truths, together with the religio medici. London: J.R. for Nath. Ekins, 1672.
2 vols. in 1. 4to.
[xxii], 440, [12 ]; [vii
With engraved portrait of author opposite title page by F.H. Van Houe. Half-leather and marbled boards; first 6 leaves loose, otherwise, interior good with numerous contemporary annotations.
Sixth edition, the last to be corrected and enlarged by the author. Browne's work is divided into seven books which contain his numerous observations and experiments in physics, comparative anatomy and biology. It "contains an extraordinary amount of learning and research dispelling many superstitious beliefs. To modern readers his Vulgar errors, as it was amusingly referred to, represents an inexhaustible store of entertainment. The attainment of scientific truth was not for Browne the sole object; it is in the discussion itself that he delights, and the more marvelous a fable is, the more sedulously he applies himself to the investigation of its truth" (DNB).
Despite this, Browne (1605-82) was not above credulous faith: he believed in astrology, alchemy, witchcraft, and magic. The work has become a literary classic and includes the first appearance in English of the term "electricity."
Also included is the seventh edition of Religio medici (A doctor's religion). One of the most famous and influential treatises in the English language, it represents Browne's attempt to arrive at a vital concept of faith, one with tolerance, humour and dignity.