Anatomy of Melancholy


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Item#: 117606 price:$6,200.00

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BURTON, Robert. The Anatomy of Melancholy. What It Is, With All the Kinds, Causes, Symptomes, Prognostickes, & Severall Cures of It… By Democritus Junior. Oxford: Printed for Henry Cripps, 1638. Tall quarto, modern full brown speckled calf, raised bands. $6200.

Desirable 1638 fifth edition of Burton's masterpiece, "one of the most popular books of the 17th century," the last edition to be published during his lifetime, with engraved allegorical title page.

"The first psychiatric encyclopedia" to be written in any language (Norman 381), helped to popularize what had previously been a mysterious and largely unexplored topic, the mental state that has come to be called depression. Burton elaborately divides the Anatomy into four main sections and numerous subsections, each of which deals with the causes, symptoms, and cures of various types of melancholy. "One of the most fascinating books in literature… There is a unique charm in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy. Dr. Johnson said that it was the only book that ever took him out of bed two hours sooner than he intended to rise… On every page is the impress of a singularly deep and original genius" (DNB). "All the learning of the age as well as its humour… [is] there. It has something in common with Brant's Ship of Fools, Erasmus's Praise of Folly, and More's Utopia, and like all these it exercised a considerable influence on the thought of the time" (PMM 120). "The most frequently reprinted psychiatric text" (Hunter & McAlpine, 94). Bound with scarce half title. With rare leaf Ll1, intended to be canceled and only present (by mistake) in a few copies. Decorative woodcut headpieces and initials. First issued in small quarto in 1621. This, the 1638 edition, is the penultimate edition to contain Burton's own additions and corrections, as Burton died in 1640, two years after the publication of this edition and eleven years before the publication of the 1651-2 edition, the last to include his emendations. Grolier 100, 18. STC 4163.

Fine condition.

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