At the moment I am reading a very interesting book, The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton, which was first published in 1621. This book looks at the causes, kinds, and cures of melancholy (or Clinical depression as it would be called today). One of the many things that intrigues me about this book is while it “sells” itself as a medical textbook, it has a lot of its sources from classical myths and literature as well as scientific evidence. The issue can be muddied by the lengthy Latin quotes (which is made lengthier by the translations). At this point I’m only at the cures sections, which has included everything from the humour, parents, old age, the Gods, and witches and magicians. Some of this still seems to be applicable today, such as old age and hereditary, some less so like Gods and Witches. As I will go through the book I may put up more posts about it.
July 25, 2012