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

Yup, I am still hung up on the devils section: And yet for all this Thomas, Albertus, and most, hold that there be far more angels than devils. I was at a party recently where everyone knew each other very well, and I knew only two people and not very well. Also I was grumpy. It […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 182: Pt. I, Sec. II, Mem. I, Subsect. II – A Digression of the Nature of Spirits, Bad Angels, or Devils, and how they cause Melancholy

Have you ever wondered how ghosts are shaped? Like, really thought about it. What shape are ghosts? Squares? Circles? Rhombi? Well apparently four hundred years ago Jean Bodin thought about that question a lot: Bodine goes farther yet, and will have these animae separatae [abstract souls], genii, spirits, angels, devils, and so likewise souls of […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 174-177: Pt. I, Sec. I, Mem. III, Subs. 4 – Of the Species or Kinds of Melancholy

  When the matter is diverse and confused, how should it otherwise be but that the species should be diverse and confused?   This post is part of a long, tedious, and very illustrated read-along of Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy. More info here and follow along on Facebook here. Illustrations posted via devon_isadevon on Instagram.

Anatomy of Melancholy, 173-174: Member III, Subsect. III – Of the Matter of Melancholy

What is melancholy made of made of? What is melancholy made of? Snips and snails and puppy dogs’ tails. That’s what melancholy is made of: If the humour be cold, it is, saith Faventinus, “a cause of dotage, and produceth milder symptoms: if hot, they are rash, raving mad, or inclining to it.” If the […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 162-165: Subsect. IX – Of the Rational Soul

What, is this not how you pictured your immortal soul? A pink glob with two more pink globs inside of it, that it may or may not have eaten? Well, today’s reading was about souls, and I didn’t really have much time to think about what souls might look like before I drew this masterpiece. […]

A of M, 143-146: Melancholy in Disposition, improperly so called. Equivocations

This little section is about sinking into a transient melancholy due to, say, a fleabite versus the “continuate disease” of melancholy. Burton does not have much patience for “errant,” or transient, melancholy, and he would prefer people stop calling “oops I stubbed my toe and it sucks” melancholy at all: Melancholy in this sense is the character […]

A of M, 139-143: Dotage, Madness, Frenzy, Hydrophobia, Lycanthropia, Chorus Sancti Viti, Ecstasis

Lycanthropia, which Avicenna calls cucubuth, others lupinam insaniam, or wolf-madness, when men run howling about graves and fields in the night, and will not be persuaded but that they are wolves, or some such beasts. Aetius and Paulus call it a kind of melancholy; but I should rather refer it to madness, as most do. […]

A of M, 137-138: Subsect. II – The Definition, Number, Division of Disease

What a disease is, almost every physician defines. Fernelius calleth it an “affection of the body contrary to nature.” Fuschius and Crato, “an hindrance, hurt, or alteration of any action of the body, or part of it.” Tholosanus, “a dissolution of that league which is between body and soul, and a perturbation of it; as […]

A of M, 116-118: Mushroom men and Monsieur Nobody

So 118 pages into this diatribe against humanity, Burton unsurprisingly sums up his argument as follows: “They are all mad.” If you are “reading” along but have fallen 116-118 pages behind, all you really missed is: “They are all mad.” Or more specifically, somewhat, they are all “E fungis nati homines,” which roughly translated means men […]

A of M, 102-104: The more things change, the more they stay the same

“For I see no reason” (as [Aristotle] said) “why an epicure or idle drone, a rich glutton, a usurer, should live at ease, and do nothing, live in honour, in all manner of pleasures, and oppress others, when as in the meantime a poor labourer, a smith, a carpenter, an husbandman that hath spent his time […]

A of M, 95-98: You know what liberty poets ever had

Let them be rude, stupid, ignorant, incult, lapis super lapidem sedeat, and as the apologist will, resp. tussi, et graveolentia laboret, mundus vitio, let them be barbarous as they are, let them tyrannise, epicurise, oppress, luxuriate, consume themselves with factions, superstitions, lawsuits, wars and contentions, live in riot, poverty, want, misery; rebel, wallow as so […]

A of M, 18-19: I had kind of a bad day and it is hard to draw a spleen that doesn’t look like s***

My drawing for pages 18-19 did not turn out well. If you try draw a spleen in sunglasses, it will generally look like one of the California Raisins. This is just a piece of advice in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation. In my defense, I was having a bad day. After dropping […]

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.