When a giant angry turnip was elected president of the United States in the apocalyptic year that was 2016, 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.
Whatever you call it, “overmuch Joy” and love of “immoderate applause” being my personal favorites, pride is no good thing: “This acceptable disease, which so sweetly sets upon us, ravisheth our senses, lulls our souls asleep, puffs up our hearts as so many bladders.” I really wanted to draw a puffed up bladder for this […]
“They do persecute beasts so long, till in the end they themselves degenerate into beasts.” Once again, I was about to move on from this section and make some goddamned progress, but then I didn’t because I drew another goddamned picture. Maybe “immoderate desire of hawking and hunting” is an archaic source of melancholic debauchery, […]
I knew it was probably coming sooner or later: Misogyny. I was still hoping that Burton might be ahead of his time with women-hating like he was with mental health awareness, or that he might at least ignore the other gender completely, but oh my no. No, we definitely do not have nice things to […]
I seem to have drawn a second illustration for Part I, Section 2, Member III, Subsection 12. I’m just really enjoying all these jabs at the rich and covetous if I’m honest: “Austin therefore defines covetousness, quarumlibet rerum inhonestam et insatiabilem cupiditatem, a dishonest and insatiable desire of gain; and in one of his […]
A drawing of how I feel about The Internet. I miss the days when it was mostly cats. I guess the trolls ate the cats, and now I don’t like to go there anymore. I was recently reading Jia Tolentino’s essay collection Trick Mirror, and there is an essay in there that really helped me […]
“Tristes voluptatum exitus, et quisquis voluptatum suarum reminisci volet, intelliget [from Boethius: pleasures bring sadness in their train, as any one will perceive who recalls his own pleasures], as bitter as gall and wormwood is their last; grief of mind, madness itself.” I ate too many Oreos last night, so I guess the wormwood […]
Well, if you don’t have a pile of “money-bags” to sleep on “open-mouthed” (“Congestis undique saccis indormit inhians”) this section will make you feel better about yourself, because at least now you know how to insult Jeff Bezos in Latin. Apparently all those Uncle Scrooges are in actual fact miserable “dust worms” and “fools, dizzards, […]
I can thank (and blame) the Kafkaesque, slow-boiling frog of a year that was 2020-2021 for many new habits and obsessions. A few are good, like running so that I don’t lose my everloving mind, but honestly running might be the only good one. They mostly fall into a more embarrassing category best labeled Weird, […]
For commonly they that, like Sisyphus, roll this restless stone of ambition, are in a perpetual agony, still perplexed, semper taciti, tritesque recedunt [they fall back continually, silent and sorrowful] (Lucretius), doubtful, timorous, suspicious, loath to offend in word or deed, still cogging and colloguing, embracing, capping, cringing, applauding, flattering, fleering, visiting, waiting at men’s doors, with all affability, counterfeit honesty and humility.
“Our villages are like molehills, and men as so many emmets.”
I’m doing an open studio event, oh boy! This Saturday, 2pm PST. There will be a raffle, and you will get to see me ramble about how much I love The Anatomy of Melancholy. If you haven’t witnessed that before, it’s something to see. It is virtual, of course, such is the way nowadays.
“A moth of the soul, a consumption, to make another man’s happiness his misery, to torture, crucify, and execute himself, to eat his own heart. Meat and drink can do such men no good, they do always grieve, sigh, and groan, day and night without intermission, their breast is torn asunder.”
“The common etymology will evince it, Cura quasi cor uro [cura (care) = cor uro (I burn my heart)]; Dementes curae, insomnes curae, damnosae curae, tristes, mordaces, carnifices, &c. biting, eating, gnawing, cruel, bitter, sick, sad, unquiet, pale, tetric, miserable, intolerable cares, as the poets call them, worldly cares, and are as many in number as the sea sands.”
“As Cyprian describes emulation, it is ‘a moth of the soul, a consumption, to make another man’s happiness his misery, to torture, crucify, and execute himself, to eat his own heart.'”
“Look into our histories, and you shall almost meet with no other subject, but what a company of harebrains have done in their rage. “
“Vice, when successful, is called virtue.”
But being that we are so peevish and perverse, insolent and proud, so factious and seditious, so malicious and envious; we do invicem angariare, maul and vex one another, torture, disquiet, and precipitate ourselves into that gulf of woes and cares, aggravate our misery and melancholy, heap upon us hell and eternal damnation.
“‘Other sins last but for a while; the gut may be satisfied, anger remits, hatred hath an end, envy never ceaseth.'” (Cardan, lib. 2 de sap.)
Today we are reading about/dwelling on shame: “as forcible a batterer as any of the rest.” Once again, suspiciously apropos to the world out there.
This drawing is just a little too much, isn’t it? Well, you know what else is too much? Just absolutely everything right now. So how fitting that today’s section is on fear!
Note to self: You skipped Subsection 3, a “Division of Perturbations” because it seemed to make more sense to draw individual perturbations before drawing the catalogue. I guess? Subsection 3 didn’t make much sense, really. Sometimes Burton says there are four perturbations but goes on to name three, and then sometimes there are seven or […]
Oops I just realized that I did two drawings for Part I, Section 2, Member III Subsection 2, but none for Part I, Section 2, Member III Subsection 1. I guess I should backtrack a bit. I just really wanted to draw a bugbear: “What will not a fearful man conceive in the dark? […]
I almost missed a subsection! God forbid. It was short (relatively speaking) so I forgot it until today: Thus in brief, to our imagination cometh by the outward sense or memory, some object to be known (residing in the foremost part of the brain), which he misconceiving or amplifying presently communicates to the heart, the […]
Work in progress… Well no progress really. I started this one before Covid-19 hit the US, and for a month now I haven’t managed to force myself to return to it. I finally realized that the poor thing reminded me so viscerally of normalcy that I just couldn’t handle working on it for now. […]
Obligatory coronavirus art. My two small gremlins are home, probably for months, so I will not be able to work so much for quite some time. Well, maybe just as much but definitely not nearly as well.
You think that drawing is gross? It could have been so much worse. The Abject, Literary Studies: Well, this one is notoriously difficult to explain, because Kristeva is a notoriously challenging writer. I would argue that she’s a tremendously good one though. When I am beset by abjection, the twisted braid of affects and […]
Well, this section is brief and straightforward: “Nothing is better than moderate sleep, nothing worse than it if it be in extremes or unseasonably used.” Be particularly careful not to sleep “overmuch” because too much sleep will induce a “great store of excrements in the brain.” Also, do not sleep after “hard meats” […]
We have covered idleness, so now on to solitude. In brief, unless you are freaking Socrates – and let’s be honest about this, because it is important, we are none of us Socrates – excessive solitude is bad for you and bad for everyone around you. This section had me thinking about those pro-introvert comics […]
Just practicing my people. Or cyborgs. I dunno. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.
I didn’t draw “immoderate exercise” because who is ever melancholy from exercising too much? I really can’t identify with that at all. All I got from that bit was a good quote to whip out the next time your marathon-addict friend is espousing the joys of running until you feel like you are going […]