The Anatomy of Melancholy – What it is, with all the kinds, causes, symptoms, prognostics and several cures of it. In three partitions. With their several sections, members, and subsections, philosophically, medicinally, historically opened and cut up. By Democritus Junior with a Satyrical Preface conducing to the following Discourse.
A New Edition to which is prefixed – The Life of the Author. Two Volumes in one (complete). London / Glasgow / Dublin, Thomas McLean / R.Griffin / J.Cumming, 1826. Octavo. Volume I: Frontispice, [4 unnumbered], 461 pages / Volume II: XII, 612 pages. Hardcover / Stunning, modern half leather by and english masterbinder. With gilt lettering on spine. Excellent condition with name and blindstamped ownership on titlepage.
On its surface, the book is presented as a medical textbook in which Burton applies his vast and varied learning, in the scholastic manner, to the subject of melancholia (which includes, although it is not limited to, what is now termed clinical depression). Although presented as a medical text, The Anatomy of Melancholy is as much a sui generis work of literature as it is a scientific or philosophical text, and Burton addresses far more than his stated subject. In fact, the Anatomy uses melancholy as the lens through which all human emotion and thought may be scrutinized, and virtually the entire contents of a 17th-century library are marshalled into service of this goal. It is encyclopedic in its range and reference.
In his satirical preface to the reader, Burton’s persona and pseudonym “Democritus Junior” explains, “I write of melancholy by being busy to avoid melancholy.” This is characteristic of the author’s style, which often supersedes the book’s strengths as a medical text or historical document as its main source of appeal to admirers. Both satirical and serious in tone, the Anatomy is “vitalized by (Burton’s) pervading humour”, and Burton’s digressive and inclusive style, often verging on a stream of consciousness, consistently informs and animates the text. In addition to the author’s techniques, the Anatomy’s vast breadth – addressing topics such as digestion, goblins, the geography of America, and others– make it a valuable contribution to multiple research disciplines.(Wikipedia)