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The Anatomy of Melancholy (In Our Time)

Bamborough, J. Oxford University Press.

The Anatomy of Melancholy

Carter, H. Carter, John, et al. Cassell and Company, Evans, Bergen. The Psychiatry of Robert Burton.

Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy

In consultation with George J. Mohr, Columbia University Press, Michael, Lincoln. Infographic: Word Counts of Famous Books. Electric Lit, If you'd like to find out more about these, or any other items in our collections, you can email us at library rcpe.

This Melancholy of which we are to treat, is a habit, a serious ailment, a settled humour , as Aurelianus and others call it, not errant, but fixed: and as it was long increasing, so, now being pleasant or painful grown to a habit, it will hardly be removed. In attacking his stated subject, Burton drew from nearly every science of his day, including psychology and physiology , but also astronomy , meteorology , and theology , and even astrology and demonology.

As a Lute out of Tune: Robert Burton’s Melancholy – The Public Domain Review

Much of the book consists of quotations [6] from various ancient and medieval medical authorities, beginning with Hippocrates , Aristotle , and Galen. Hence the Anatomy is filled with more or less pertinent references to the works of others.


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A competent Latinist, Burton also included a great deal of Latin poetry in the Anatomy , and many of his inclusions from ancient sources are left untranslated in the text. The Anatomy of Melancholy is an especially lengthy book, the first edition being a single quarto volume nearly pages long; subsequent editions were even longer.

Characteristically, the introduction includes not only an author's note titled "Democritus Junior to the Reader" , but also a Latin poem "Democritus Junior to His Book" , a warning to "The Reader Who Employs His Leisure Ill", an abstract of the following text, and another poem explaining the frontispiece. The following three sections proceed in a similarly exhaustive fashion: the first section focuses on the causes and symptoms of "common" melancholies, while the second section deals with cures for melancholy, and the third section explores more complex and esoteric melancholies, including the melancholy of lovers and all varieties of religious melancholies.

The Anatomy concludes with an extensive index which, many years later, The New York Times Book Review called "a readerly pleasure in itself" [8].

Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy

Most modern editions include many explanatory notes, and translate most of the Latin. Burton's solemn tone and his endeavor to prove indisputable facts by weighty quotations were ridiculed by Laurence Sterne in Tristram Shandy. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the book by Robert Burton.

Frontispiece for the edition.

Introduction to the Project Gutenberg Edition.

The Guardian. Retrieved 20 June London Review of Books. Categories : books Psychology books Works about melancholia History of mental health in the United Kingdom.