• 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, 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 […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 192 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. I, Subs. 2: A Digression of the Nature of Spirits, Bad Angels, or Devils, and how they cause Melancholy – Terrestrial Devils

So as mentioned before, Burton seems to say that there are six types of devils-spirits: fiery, aerial, terrestrial, watery, subterranean, and fairies/nymphs/satyrs/etc, but then terrestrial and fairies/etc. seem to collapse into the same category. Which is to say, I am really not sure what “terrestrial” devils are, according to Burton, but I drew one anyhow. […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 193 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. I, Subs. 2: A Digression of the Nature of Spirits, Bad Angels, or Devils, and how they cause Melancholy – Hobgoblins

So starting around here, it starts to get kind of difficult to differentiate between the six kinds of spirit-demons. I think that the fifth kind is basically fairies? Or more like hobgoblins, trolls, satyrs, and all other mythical – at least vaguely human-like – creatures that usually but not always live in the woods, especially […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 192 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. I, Subs. 2: A Digression of the Nature of Spirits, Bad Angels, or Devils, and how they cause Melancholy – Water-devils

Are you heretofore conversant about waters and rivers? Are you also woman-shaped? You might just be a water-devil: Water-devils are those Naiads or water nymphs which have been heretofore conversant about waters and rivers. The water (as Paracelsus thinks) is their chaos, wherein they live; some call them fairies, and say that Habundia is their […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 191 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. I, Subs. 2: A Digression of the Nature of Spirits, Bad Angels, or Devils, and how they cause Melancholy – Aerial Spirits

Aerial spirits or devils, are such as keep quarter most part in the air, cause many tempests, thunder, and lightnings, tear oaks, fire steeples, houses, strike men and beasts, make it rain stones, as in Livy’s time, wool, frogs, etc. Counterfeit armies in the air, strange noises, swords, &c., as at Vienna before the coming of […]