• Read with me!

    When a giant angry turnip was elected president of the United States last year, I started to feel a little down. Naturally my response was to buy an unabridged copy of Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy. My get-out-of-bed-without-crying-plan is to read a little piece of this gargantuan lump of knowledge daily, and I will illustrate it as I go.

Recent Posts

Anatomy of Melancholy, 216-219 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. II, Subs. 1 – Bad Diet a Cause. Substance. Quality of Meats

Now I have begun Member II, which is all about food, some foods inducing more melancholy (and indigestion) than others. I think Member II is shaping up to be one of my least favorite members. Very few people even try to read the complete Anatomy of Melancholy, and of the few that do, most don’t […]

Another snail

I drew another containing/contained/spirit snail drawing, inspired by The Anatomy of Melancholy. But this one is also inspired by a lesser-known Patricia Highsmith short story called “The Quest for Blank Claveringi,” originally published in her 1970 short story collection, The Snail-Watcher and Other Stories. I couldn’t find it online anywhere, sadly, so I can’t link […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 211-216 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. I, Subs. 6: Parents a Cause by Propagation

  In this section I learned that garlic will fuzzle your brain and give you peevish children who are likewise “fuzzled in the brain.” That’s a real quote, page 214. Also this: Such another I find in Martin Wenrichius, com. de ortu monstrorum, c. 17, I saw (saith he) at Wittenberg, in Germany, a citizen that […]

LIST: Drawings of stacks of things from children’s books that are really, really good

If you have small children, or if you remember being one, then you know that stacking things is a very big deal for a surprisingly significant portion of early childhood. As a kid, I was obsessed with Shel Silverstein’s drawing of pancakes from Where the Sidewalk Ends, and even as an adult I can’t stop […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 210-211 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. I, Subs. 5: Old Age a Cause

Burton does not have a lot of good things to say about old people: Full of ache, sorrow and grief, children again, dizzards, they carl many times as they sit, and talk to themselves, they are angry, waspish, displeased with every thing, suspicious of all, wayward, covetous, hard (saith Tully,) self-willed, superstitious, self-conceited, braggers and admirers of themselves, as […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 202-204 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. I, Subs. 3: Of Witches and Magicians, how they cause Melancholy

There are a lot more witches in this book than I thought there would be. Some witchy quotes: Erricus, King of Sweden, had an enchanted cap, by virtue of which, and some magical murmur or whispering terms, he could command spirits, trouble the air, and make the wind stand which way he would, insomuch that when […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 205: Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. I, Subsect. 4 — Stars a cause. Signs from Physiognomy, Metoposcopy, Chiromancy.

  The stars rule us, God rules the stars, and we can rule ourselves if we’re smart: Natural causes are either primary and universal, or secondary and more particular. Primary causes are the heavens, planets, stars, etc., by their influence (as our astrologers hold) producing this and such like effects… they do incline, but not compel; […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 205 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. I, Subs. 3: Of Witches and Magicians, how they cause Melancholy

  Never, ever take cake from witches: Ruland, in his 3rd Cent. Cura 91, gives an instance of one David Helde, a young man, who by eating cakes which a witch gave him, mox delirare coepit, began to dote on a sudden, and was instantly mad.   This post is part of a long, tedious, and very illustrated read-along […]

Pictures of Theories: The Iceberg Theory

The Iceberg Theory, Literary Studies: 

“If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.”

— Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

Anatomy of Melancholy, 201 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. I, Subs. 2: A Digression of the Nature of Spirits, Bad Angels, or Devils, and how they cause Melancholy – Stories of Possession

Here we have an unhallowed pomegranate. Once again, I appear to have drawn an excellent picture for a disturbing holiday card. — Durand. lib. 6. Rationall. c. 86. numb. 8. relates that he saw a wench possessed in Bononia with two devils, by eating an unhallowed pomegranate, as she did afterwards confess, when she was cured by […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 200 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. I, Subs. 2: A Digression of the Nature of Spirits, Bad Angels, or Devils, and how they cause Melancholy – Their Power, How Used

“Agrippa and Lavater are persuaded, that this humour invites the devil to it, wheresoever it is in extremity, and of all other, melancholy persons are most subject to diabolical temptations and illusions, and most apt to entertain them, and the Devil best able to work upon them.”

Post-apocalyptic A to Z

Someday when I have time, I’m going to write this entire post-apocalyptic children’s book. But for now: P is for prancing panthers in polluted pineapple pastures. I think I could spend my whole life writing and illustrating alphabet books that aren’t totally appropriate for small children.   I’m not on Facebook much anymore, because who is? But […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 199-200 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. I, Subs. 2: A Digression of the Nature of Spirits, Bad Angels, or Devils, and how they cause Melancholy – Their Power, How Used

The devil can make you famous. The devil can inspire. And the devil can also give you a doozy of a tummy ache: Never was any man extraordinary famous in any art, action, or great commander, that had not familiarem daemonem [a familiar demon] to inform him. And Jason Pratensis, “that the devil, being a slender incomprehensible spirit, […]

Eyeball-Head

“I could see everything in space if I had an eyeball-head!” is a thing my kid said last week, because she is amazing. I tried to do this one in black and white, but… then the markers came out. Which do think is better? Or should I add EVEN MORE color? I know what my […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 197 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. I, Subs. 2: A Digression of the Nature of Spirits, Bad Angels, or Devils, and how they cause Melancholy – Extent of Their Power

How far their power doth extend it is hard to determine; what the ancients held of their effects, force and operations, I will briefly show you: Plato in Critias, and after him his followers, gave out that these spirits or devils, were men’s governors and keepers, our lords and masters, as we are of our cattle. They […]

Anatomy of Melancholy: All the Devils!

  Wherefore of these sublunary devils, though others divide them otherwise according to their several places and offices, Psellus makes six kinds, fiery, aerial, terrestrial, watery, and subterranean devils, besides those fairies, satyrs, nymphs, &c. There, I drew all six types of sublunary devils. Are there lunary devils? I don’t know yet, but I sure […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 196 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. I, Subs. 2: A Digression of the Nature of Spirits, Bad Angels, or Devils, and how they cause Melancholy – Subterranean Devils

  Subterranean devils are as common as the rest, and do as much harm. Olaus Magnus, lib. 6, cap. 19, makes six kinds of them; some bigger, some less. These (saith Munster) are commonly seen about mines of metals, and are some of them noxious; some again do no harm.    This post is part of a […]