Robert Burton’s Work “The Anatomy of Melancholy”; Its Literary and Philosophical Values in the English Literature

Ulkar Kazimova

Abstract


The book is nominally, an anatomy, an overview, a dissection, an analysis of melancholy. But melancholy is a broad term, a common affliction with many causes, symptoms and, possibly, cures. Because of that, Burton is determined to consider each and every variation on the theme. It is a famous book with a well-known title, but rarely seen. It has been essentially, out of print for some time. Now “The Anatomy of Melancholy” has been republished in a convenient single volume by New York Review Books. Burton’s book is encyclopedic. Burton acknowledges that he has read many books and every book ever written or published until that time. Indeed, he appears to quote from every one of these books in “The Anatomy of Melancholy” – from the earliest Greeks to his recent contemporaries. Arguably, the Anatomy is the last book that encompasses the entire learning of Western culture, and the last successful effort to embrace it all into one volume. It is a book of references woven together. There is both madness and method here – to convince a huge mass of readers to the arguments brought forward. The book is literally and philosophically overwhelming. It ranges across nearly all subjects: medicine, astronomy, philosophy, literature and all the arts, politics, nature. It runs from quote to quote to reference. The book is presented as being by “Democritus Junior”. Lewellyn Powys called it “the greatest work of prose of the greatest period of English prose-writing,” while the celebrated surgeon William Osler declared it is the greatest of medical treatises. Samuel Johnson considered it one of his favorite books, being "the only book that ever took him out of bed two hours sooner than he wished to rise".

 


Keywords


Melancholy, Anatomy, Literary, Religious Melancholy, Love Melancholy, Disease, Spirit, and Black Bile

Full Text:

PDF

References


Abby, L .(2008). X3

Ackerknecht, E H. (1959). A short history of psychiatry. New York: Hafner.

Ackerknecht ,E.H. (1959). A short history of psychiatry. New York: Hafner.

Alexander, F.G, & Selesnick S T. (1966). The history of psychiatry. USA: Harper and Row.

--- ( ). Archbishop Herring's Letters, 12 mo. 1777. p. 149.

--- ( ). Boswell's Life of Johnson, vol. i. p. 580. 8 vol. Edition.

--- ( ). Boswell's Life of Johnson, vol. ii. p. 325.

--- ( ). Democritus Junior to the Reader-Robert Burton - “The Anatomy of Melancholy” Excerpts taken from Burton, Robert. “Anatomy of Melancholy”. New York: Tudor 1920 Ferriar's Illustrations of Sterne, p. 58.) Paradise Lost, 2000, NOA, p.6.

--- ( ). The Anatomy of Melancholy, What It Is , 1621; revised editions, 1624, 1628, 1632, 1638, 1651; edited by Holbrook Jackson, 1932, and Thomas C. Faulkner, Nicolas K. Kiessling, and Rhonda L. Blair, 3 vols., 1989-94

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907– 21). Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan.

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan.

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan.

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan.

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). Volume VII., Cavalier and Puritan.

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). Volume IV; Prose and Poetry: Sir Thomas North to Michael Drayton.

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature. An Encyclopedia in Eighteen Volumes; Edited by A. W. Ward and A. R. Waller.

--- ( ). Wood's Athenae Oxoniensis , vol. i. p. 628. 2nd edition.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/ijalel.v.1n.2p.219

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2020 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.