• Browne

Born 1605. Died 1682.

In case you read the otherwise satisfying article on Thomas Browne in Wednesday’s New York Times and were wondering.

The article describes Browne as a “London-born physician” and “reverent Christian” who wrote as a “gentleman’s hobby” yet with “soaring ambition,” and whose “eccentric antirationalism struck a chord” not only with the Romantics but with modernists and postmodernists who have repopularized him.

The only thing the article doesn’t tell us about Browne is when he lived. There’s a late reference to him as a “product of the early Enlightenment,” an important clue that I’m guessing untutored readers will think doesn’t quite get the job done.

Top papers used to pay people to nail down these details. The policy now seems to be that if you have to ask, you’re not interested in knowing.