Curing Melancholy

The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton, was not the first of its genre of the literature of the humors.  Authors like Lemnius Levinus had written on the diseases and cures of the more psychological side of the human body.  Burton was a mathematician and an amateur astrologist.  This was his most famous work, although he also wrote a popular comedy called Philosophaster.

Having a talent for narrative, it is no surprise that he wrote Anatomy with more of a literary tone—it’s in first person and his language is both imaginative and eloquent.  This was to be a treatise on why the study of psychology is more important than of natural science.

It has been said that Burton wrotehis great study of melancholy to treat himself for his own depression.  Yet, Burton’s work is full of humor; this is not your typical science literature.

This edition was printed in Oxford, for a Henry Cripps.