A of M, 45-47: Sottish beetles


AofM 45-47

That is not a typo. Sottish, not Scottish, meaning like a sot – stupid, possibly intoxicated.

Continuing with the uplifting topic of the world’s madness, Burton describes the various failings and hypocrisies of so-called “wise men.” He calls Pythagoras a half-wizard half-witch and that sort of thing, concluding: “If these men now, that held Zenodotus’ heart, Crates’ liver, Epictetus’ lanthorn, were so sottish, and had no more brains than so many beetles, what shall we think of the commonality?  What of the rest?” And from there, “In this sense we are all fools” and “our whole course of life is but matter of laughter… What madness ghosts us all?”

So… that’s nice. I do like beetles though.


This post is part of a long, tedious, and illustrated read-along of Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy – more info here and follow along on Facebook here. Join us! 



1 Comment

  1. I’m kind of reading Sam Pepys’ diary at the same time as this, online, an entry a day. It’s not horribly off in years, but Pepys is very private, very urbane, quite charming and frank about disliking his relatives, wanting their money, trying to be “good” by making resolutions, wanting to be rich and well-respected and generally being not like Richard Burton. At least, not yet. Devon, I think you’re taking one for the team on Burton, but maybe you can do the critical biography that brings him to the masses! Love your drawings, truly.

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