Thomas Browne: Letter to a Friend, upon the Occasion of the Death of his Intimate Friend

(673 words)

Although published posthumously in 1690, Thomas Browne’s A Letter to a Friend was written much earlier, in late 1650s. It opens as a condolence letter to a local landowner on the death of a mutual friend, a gifted young man named Robert Loveday of Chediston in Suffolk. It is Browne’s sad task announce the death to the recipient as well as condole with him.

Browne had been called in to consult on Loveday’s advanced case of consumption. In his character as doctor, Browne brings his wide medical knowledge to a discussion of the course of the disease in the patient – his unmistakable mortal symptoms, the unfounded but hopeful diagnoses by members of Loveday’s family, and the results of the autopsy. This medical …

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Preston, Claire. "Letter to a Friend, upon the Occasion of the Death of his Intimate Friend". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 July 2006
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]