Edward Granville “E.G.” Browne

Edward Granville “E.G.” Browne

Uley, Stroud District, Gloucestershire, England
Death 5 Jan 1926 (aged 63)
Cambridge, City of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Burial Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Metropolitan Borough of Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England
Memorial ID 114555778 · View Source
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Excerpts from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography found at oxforddnb.com

Browne, Edward Granville (1862–1926), Persian scholar, was born at Stouts Hill, Uley, Gloucestershire, the home of his grandfather Colonel Benjamin Chapman Browne, on 7 February 1862. He was the eldest son of the nine children of Sir Benjamin Chapman Browne (1839–1917), civil engineer, and his wife, Annie, daughter of Robert Thomas Atkinson, of High Cross House, Newcastle upon Tyne.

In 1887 Browne was elected to a fellowship at Pembroke College, and this enabled him to pay his first and, as it turned out, his only visit to Persia (October 1887 to September 1888); this country became thenceforth the central object of his studies and the absorbing interest of his life. He visited Tabriz, Tehran, Esfahan, Shiraz, Yazd, and Kerman, avoiding European society as much as possible, and throwing himself with ever-increasing interest into the company of Persians, mystics, dervishes, and Kalandars, whose friendship and confidence he gained to a degree hitherto unparalleled. During his year away in Persia he had in 1888 been appointed university lecturer in Persian at Cambridge. In 1902 he was elected Sir Thomas Adams's professor of Arabic. He lived in Pembroke, in the rooms once occupied by Thomas Gray and the younger Pitt. After his marriage in London on 20 June 1906 to Alice Caroline (1879–1925), daughter of Francis Henry Blackburne Daniell, a barrister, he moved to Firwood, a large neo-Gothic house in Trumpington Road, where he spent the remainder of his life.

A year before his departure for Persia, Browne had happened to come across the writings of Count Gobineau, and the description which he found there of the rise of the Babi movement gave him a new object for his journey. He was spellbound by the story of the courage and devotion shown by the Bab and his faithful followers, and at once resolved to make a special study of this movement. As he himself said, whereas he had previously wished to visit Shiraz because it was the home of Hafiz and Sa‘di, he now wished to see it because it was also the birthplace of Mirza Ali Muhammad, the Bab. He was eager to discover the nature of doctrines which could inspire so much heroism, and felt convinced that he would find among the Persians many still living who had known the Bab personally. The story down to 1852 had been adequately and eloquently told by Gobineau. It became Browne's object to continue the narrative from that date, and for some years after his return from Persia he contributed articles dealing with the Babis to the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. He published two translations of Babi histories, A Traveller's Narrative, Written to Illustrate the Episode of the Bab (1891) and The New History of Mírzá ‘Ali Muhammad, the Báb, Translated from the Persian (1893). Both were enhanced by long introductions and important notes by Browne. He also published in 1893 A Year amongst the Persians, which, although it was later included among the foremost classics of travel in English literature, did not at the time attract the attention it deserved, and was not reprinted until 1926, after his death. It is remarkable for his sympathetic portrayal of aspects of Persian society which few, if any, Europeans had ever seen, including a frank account of the effects of opium.

Browne's capacity for mastering oriental languages was very remarkable, and he was among the very few Europeans who could write a correct letter with equal facility in Arabic, Persian, or Turkish. His memory was exceptional and his fund of quotation inexhaustible. A brilliant conversationalist himself, he also had the Boswellian gift of recalling whole conversations—a gift which contributed very largely to the value and interest of his A Year amongst the Persians. Persians themselves held him in the deepest affection and veneration; the name of the street called after him in Tehran remained unchanged even after the Islamic revolution of 1979.

Family Members


In every loving memory of Alice Caroline Browne Wife of Edward G. Browne of Cambridge
Born September 30, 1879
Died June 28, 1925
Edward Granville Browne
Lecturer in Persian Professor of Arabid
Born Feb. 7 1862 Died Jan. 5 1926
"And in the Land of Beauty,
all Things of Beauty meet."



  • Created by: Candace Hill
  • Added: 29 Jul 2013
  • Find a Grave Memorial 114555778
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Edward Granville “E.G.” Browne (7 Feb 1862–5 Jan 1926), Find a Grave Memorial no. 114555778, citing Elswick Cemetery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Metropolitan Borough of Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England ; Maintained by Candace Hill (contributor 47629018) .