BURTON, Robert.

The Anatomy of Melancholy.

What it is, with all the kinds causes, symptomes, prognostickes, & seuerall cures of it. In three Partitions, with their severall Sections, members & subsections, Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically, opened & cut up. By Democritus Junior With a Satyrical Preface, Conducing to the Following Discourse. The Sixt. Edition, corrected and augmented by the Author.

London: printed & are to be sould by Hen: Crips & Lodo: Lloyd at their shop in Popes head alley, 1652 Stock Code: 135172

"It is the only book that ever took me out of bed two hours sooner than I wished to rise" - Samuel Johnson

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Sixth edition, first published in 1621. Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy was "one of the most popular books of the seventeenth century. All the learning of the age as well as its humour - and its pedantry - are there. It has something in common with Brant's Ship of Fools, Erasmus's Praise of Folly, and More's Utopia, with Rabelais and Montaigne and like all these it exercised a considerable influence on the thought of the time. Dr Johnson deeply admired it, and Charles Lamb's often and strongly expressed devotion served to rescue the Anatomy from a brief period of oblivion" (PMM 120). Burton's work is a landmark text rising out of "the new curiosity in the Renaissance about the workings of the human mind" (ODNB), and as such constitutes an important work of proto-psychology. Furthermore, Burton's Anatomy may be considered more particularly as a situated encyclopaedia of the 17th-century mind, since, through his encyclopaedic reading for sources and examples (which he conducted throughout his continual revisions of the work, swelling the text from 353,369 words in the first edition to 516,384 in the present edition), Burton "was able to rival the great encyclopaedist scholars of Europe, and there were not many Englishmen of his time who could do that" (ODNB). Pforzheimer notes that "As the author continued to make augmentations and a few corrections to each edition published in his lifetime... all early editions are of interest textually".

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Small folio (275 x 177 mm). 19th-century diced russia, titles, ruling, and decorative floral motifs in gilt on spine, decorative gilt roll border with floral motifs on boards, turn-ins ruled in single gilt fillet, marbled endpapers.


Engraved title with eleven illustrative vignettes including a portrait for the author and several moods or personalities Burton judged related to melancholy, xylographic headers, cul-de-lampes, and decorative opening initials.


Armorial bookplates of Reverend John Lamb (1789-1850), Anglican priest and academic, master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, from 1822 to 1837, and dean of Bristol from 1837 until his death; and of Sir Rainald Knightley (1819-1895), 3rd Baronet of Fawsley, British Conservative Party politician. Early ownership ink inscriptions of Charles Knightley and Johannes Lamb to blank preliminary leaf. Spine sometime expertly refurbished, light wear and rubbing at extremities, corners a little bumped, a faint damp stain to bottom margin and gutter running throughout and sometimes heavier, very occasional toning and foxing; still a fresh and very good copy.


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