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[Perspectives] Thomas Browne: a rarity among rarities

We are inclined to think of social networks as a modern phenomenon, dependent on the technology of electronic communication. What, then, to make of a 17th-century Norwich doctor, who rarely left his home, but whose prolific writings were admired across Europe? Whose impact was such that writers of the modern era, from Edgar Allan Poe to Jorge Luis Borges (and not forgetting Virginia Woolf) counted him as essential reading? Of whose first book Sir William Osler, the father of modern medical training and practice, declared that no other had had “so enduring an influence on my life”?