b.7 February 1862 d.5 January 1926
BA Cantab(1884) MA MB(1887) MRCS FRCP(1911) FBA
Edward Browne was born at Uley, Gloucestershire, the son of Sir Benjamin Browne, a civil engineer who became lord mayor of Newcastle, by his wife Annie, daughter of Robert Thomas Atkinson of Newcastle. He went to school at Glenalmond and Eton. His sympathy with the Turks in the War of 1877 against Russia made him keen to study their language, and, when he went up to Pembroke College, Cambridge, he read both oriental languages and natural sciences, gaining second-class honours in the latter in 1882 and a first in the Indian languages tripos of 1884. He then studied medicine at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, proceeding to the degree of M.B. in 1887. He was now elected a fellow of his College, and was thus enabled to spend a year in Persia. There he made a special study of the Babi movement, which bore fruit in two works, A Traveller's Narrative (1891) and The New History of Mirza Ali Muhammad, the Bab (1893), and acquired an absorbing interest in the country, described in A Year Among the Persians (1893).
Browne never practised medicine, although he delivered the FitzPatrick Lectures on Arabian Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians in 1919-20. His career was devoted to teaching and studying oriental languages at Cambridge, at first as University lecturer on Persian (1888-1902) and then as Sir Thomas Adams professor of Arabic (1902-26). His magnum opus. Literary History of Persia until the Time of Firdausi, appeared in four volumes between 1902 and 1924 and established itself as the standard work on the subject. But he continued to give much attention to current events in Persia and remained an ardent supporter of her cause in her quarrels with Russia. Browne married in 1906 Alice Caroline, daughter of Francis Blackburne Daniell, and had two sons. He died at Cambridge.
G H Brown
[Lancet, 1926; B.M.J., 1926; D.N.B., 1922-30, 123; Al.Cantab., I, 413]
(Volume IV, page 515)
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