Anatomy of Melancholy, 280-282 — Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. III, Subsect. 11 — Concupiscible Appetite, as Desires, Ambition, Causes

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. 

Anatomy of Melancholy, 253-258 (again) — Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. III, Subsect. 2 — Of the Force of Imagination

  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? […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 252-253 — Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. III, Subsect. 1 — Passions and Perturbations of the Mind, how they cause Melancholy

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 […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 253-258 — Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. III, Subsect. 2 — Of the Force of Imagination

  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. […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 221-222 – Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. II, Subs. 1 – Bad Diet a Cause. Substance. Quality of Meats (continued again)

Hey look, I’m back at work on the read-along! I picked up where I left off: reading the parts of The Anatomy of Melancholy that have not been read in approximately four hundred years. It has been a rough reentry. Today, I read about fruits and vegetables, also known as vegetals. All classical, Medieval, and […]

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 […]