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

  This is what air looks like according to Paracelsus, a 16th century Swiss  physician, astrologer, and alchemist. From the Anatomy of Melancholy: The air is not so full of flies in summer, as it is at all times of invisible devils. Yes, I am still stuck in Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. I, Subsect. 2: […]

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 169-170: Memb. III, Subsect. I. – Definition of Melancholy, Name, Difference

Hey look! I made it to Member III! I didn’t even know that I was in Member II before! What are Members?!  And why didn’t I notice them before?! I am pretty sure that we have four levels of sections and subsections going on here: Parts, Sections, Members, and Subsections. Wow. So anyhow, at last: […]

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. […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 159-160: Subsect. VII – Of the Inward Senses

  In this section Burton discourses on common sense, phantasy (or imagination), and memory. On imagination he writes: In melancholy men this faculty is most powerful and strong, and often hurts, producing many monstrous and prodigious things, especially if it be stirred up by some terrible object, presented to it from common sense or memory. In […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 157-159: Subsect. VII – Of the Sensible Soul

Hey look, I’m back! Welcome back, me. In this section, Burton describes the body’s five senses: vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. It really is not very interesting. Burton mentions “Scaliger’s sixth sense of titillation,” which would be interesting, but unfortunately he seems icked out by it and doesn’t have any fun quotes for us. […]

Anatomy of Melancholy , 154-157: Of the Soul and her Faculties, continued

  The common division of the soul is into three principal faculties–vegetal, sensitive, and rational, which make three distinct kinds of living creatures–vegetal plants, sensible beasts, rational men. How these three principal faculties are distinguished and connected, Humano ingenio inaccessum videtur, is beyond human capacity, as Taurellus, Philip, Flavins, and others suppose. The inferior may […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 150: Containing Parts, Dissimilar, Inward

  That’s right, more bat-shit crazy antiquated anatomy! Inward organical parts, which cannot be seen, are divers in number, and have several names, functions, and divisions; but that of Laurentius is most notable, into noble or ignoble parts. Of the noble there be three principal parts, to which all the rest belong, and whom they […]

Anatomy of Melancholy, 150: Containing Parts, Dissimilar, Outward

  Dissimilar parts are those which we call organical, or instrumental, and they be inward or outward. The chiefest outward parts are situate forward or backward:–forward, the crown and foretop of the head, skull, face, forehead, temples, chin, eyes, ears, nose, etc., neck, breast, chest, upper and lower part of the belly, hypocondries, navel, groin, flank, etc.; backward, the hinder […]

The Anatomy of Melancholy, 148: The four humours, melancholy

Melancholy, cold and dry, thick, black, sour, begotten of the more feculent part of nourishment, and purged from the spleen, is a bridle to the other two hot humours, blood and choler, preserving them in the blood, and nourishing the bones. These four humours have some analogy with the four elements, and to the four ages of man.

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 […]