The Anatomy of Melancholy Paperback – Apr 30 2001
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This edition retains the original Latin, while providing bracketed English translations.
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Top Customer Reviews
It was compliled from all the books of the 17th century and is not really about melancholy, per se. It is, rather, Robert Burton's view of mankind and mankind's condition. All mankind. And all conditions. It is about melancholia, sure, but it is about everything else as well. Melancholia was just Burton's excuse to write about everything under the sun in a strikingly original way and then have the nerve to remind us that there is nothing new under the sun. This is a book filled with both endless quotes and endless quotable material and, to the surprise of many, it is a comic masterpiece. Perhaps "the" comic masterpiece. Burton chose to publish this book as having been written by "Democritus Junior," and if that doesn't give you a hint regarding the humor that follows, then not much will.
If you like good literature, you'll love this book. If you like psychology, you'll love this book. If you want to seem pretentious, you need this book. Mostly, however, this is a book for people who love words. Burton may have seemed like a raving madman to some, but he was a man obsessed with a love for the English language...and it shows.
The Anatomy of Melancholy wasn't meant to be read from the first page to the last; I have never met anyone who did that and one would have to be more than a little mad to even try. Just pick up the book. Open it to any page. You may find lists, digressions, bits of 17th century prose, quotes, much Latin.Read more ›
Burton is not a writer for fops and milquetoasts. He was a crusty old devil who used to go down to the river to listen to the bargemen cursing so that he could keep in touch with the true tongue of his race. Sometimes I think he might have been better off as the swashbuckling Captain of a pirate ship. But somehow he ended up as a scholar, and instead of watching the ocean satisfyingly swallowing up his victims, he himself became an ocean of learning swallowing up whole libraries. His book, in consequence, although it may have begun as a mere 'medical treatise,' soon exploded beyond its bounds to become, in the words of one of his editors, "a grand literary entertainment, as well as a rich mine of miscellaneous learning."
Of his own book he has this to say : "... a rhapsody of rags gathered together from several dung-hills, excrements of authors, toys and fopperies confusedly tumbled out, without art, invention, judgement, wit, learning, harsh, raw, rude, phantastical, absurd, insolent, indiscreet, ill-composed, indigested, vain, scurrile, idle, dull, and dry; I confess all..." But don't believe him, he's in one of his irascible moods and exaggerating. In fact it's a marvelous book.Read more ›
But what is it that Burton is trying to show us, with his quotes from the Alchemical Master Galen and Latin stanzas?
Why must we understand the "Anatomy of Meloncholy"? The anatomy of our own suffering and the suffering of the world...
The Master M refers to Burton in his books of Occult Mysticism.
For us, as common "modern westerners", to understand such esoteric psychology-and not have to learn Latin, Tibetan, Sanskrit or Chinese, we must study the books of SAMAEL AUN WEOR. He writes in such a way as to unveil those truly hidden mysteries: "Know thyself and thy shall Know the universe and all its Gods".
Find the book of "Revolutionary Psychology" or "The Perfect Matrimony" by the said author. These books are amazing supplements to books like Burton's. These books give the western student a strong foundation in the psychological aspect of Occultism. SAMAEL AUN WEOR's books can be a bit difficult (to find), as they are continuously being translated from the original language (Spanish). Yet they can be bought from any Gnostic Institute ([...]
Most recent customer reviews
It is often said that The Sorrows of Young Werther is a catalogue of the symptoms of love-sickness. It can only serve as a primer for the Love-Melancholy section of the Anatomy. Read morePublished on Feb. 7 2002 by Amazon Customer
This book is almost unreadable. First, physically. It is a paperback, but very thick and heavy, and does not allow easy reading except on a table; almost impossible to read in... Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2002
I am reviewing the NYRB's edition of Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy.
It's good to have Burton's Anatomy back in print in an affordable edition. Read more
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