The Anatomy of Melancholy is, quite self-consciously, the book to end all books. Its style and content have attracted praise since its first publication. The immensely widely read Robert Burton compiled it from the books that existed in a 17th-century library in order to explain and account for all human emotion and thought. In the first part, Burton defines the “inbred malady” of melancholy, discusses its causes, and describes the symptoms. The second part is devoted to its cure. Love melancholy is the subject of the final and longest part. A master of narrative, Burton includes as examples most of the world’s great love stories, showing a modern approach to psychological problems. Burton’s lively, colloquial style is as individual as his subject matter. It is imaginative and eloquent, full of classical allusions and Latin tags that testify to his love of curious and out-of-the-way information as well as to his erudition. He is a master of lists and catalogs, but their sonorous roll is often broken by his humorous asides. This edition, in crisp clear modern font, is complete and unabridged.
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