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Robert Burton

Trouble of mind and the disease of melancholly

252J.  Timothy Rogers (1658-1728)

A discourse concerning trouble of mind and the disease of melancholly : in three parts : written for the use of such as are, or have been exercised by the same.

London : Printed for Thomas Parkhurst, and Thomas Cockerill at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside, and at the Three Legs in the Poultrey 1691.                      $3,800

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Octavo     inches. A8 (a)-(d)8 (e)4, B-2E8 ( leaf S7 pages 269/270 torn in the out margin affecting one word in each line) first Edition , bound in original calf boards neatly rebacked.

“Rogers was educated at Glasgow University, where he matriculated in 1673, and then studied under Edward Veal at Wapping.Rogers began his career in the dissenting ministry as evening lecturer at Crosby Square, Bishopsgate. Some time after 1682 he was struck down by a form of hypochondria, from which he recovered in 1690, and then became assistant to John Shower. Shower was then minister of the Presbyterian congregation in Jewin Street, and moved in 1701 to the Old Jewry Meeting-house.  Rogers’s hypochondria returned, and in 1707 he left the ministry .(DNB)

Rogers cautions not to blame the devil for this depression:

“Do not attribute the effects of mere Disease, to the Devil”, He describes how the mind can make the body sick: “If a Man, saith he, that is troubled in Conscience, come to a Minister, it may be, he will look all to the Soul, and nothing to the Body; if he come to a Physician, he considereth the Body, and neglecteth the Soul: for my part, I would never have the Physician’s Counsel despised, nor the Labour of the Minister neglected; because the Soul and Body dwelling together, it is convenient, that as the Soul should be cured, by the Word, by Prayer, by Fasting, or by Comforting; so the Body must be brought into some temperature, by Physick, and Diet, by harmless Diversions, and such like ways.” 

“Rogers’s detailed instructions on how to care for patients suffering from `trouble of mind’, especially from `melancholly’ of the religious kind, are particularly valuable because they were written from personal experience; as the extract shows much of his advice can still be usefully applied by the psychiatrist and the psychiatric nurse today. It appears from his biography prefixed to the third edition of his book (London 1808; a second edition appeared in 1706) that he came from a family in which several near relatives were similarly affected ‘so that his case might properly be called natural or hereditary’. In his late twenties he had his first breakdown, ‘a deep and settled melancholy’ lasting two years. On his recovery he wrote this book as an offering ‘for his wonderful restoration’, to discharge ‘the Duty of those Persons whom God hath delivered from Melancholy, and from the anguish of their Consciences’ and to show `What is to be thought of those that are distracted with Trouble for their sins’. However he continued ever after subject to ‘a very unhappy dejection of mind . . . a prey to gloomy fears and apprehensions’, so that he was forced to retire into the country where he continued to manifest ‘though in a more contracted sphere, the same zeal for the honour of God, and for the salvation of the souls of men’.” (300 years of Psychiatry, Richard Hunter, 1963, p248)

Archibald Alexander (17721851), the first professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, was a perceptive student of human behavior. His insights on counseling, especially on dealing with depression, are remarkably valid for today. In his Thoughts on Religious Experience (1844), Alexander wrote concerning the causes of depression:

“ When religious melancholy becomes a fixed disease, it may be reckoned among the heaviest calamities to which our suffering nature is subject. It resists all argument and rejects every topic of consolation, from whatever source it may proceed. It feeds upon distress and despair and is displeased even with the suggestion or offer of relief. The mind thus affected seizes on those ideas and truths which are most awful and terrifying. Any doctrine which excludes all hope is congenial to the melancholy spirit; it seizes on such things with an unnatural avidity and will not let them go. [Alexander 1978, 35] Alexander tells of Timothy Rogers, a London minister who lived from 1658 to 1728. Rogers was a godly, pious, and able pastor. Yet he was overtaken by a severe depression which today would probably be diagnosed as involutional depression. Rogers’s depression was so acute that he “gave up all hope of the mercy of God, and believed himself to be a vessel of wrath, designed for destruction, for the praise of the glorious justice of the Almighty”(Alexander 1978, 35).

Alexander describes Rogers’s condition in terms that tell us the man was clinically depressed, perhaps even psychotically depressed at times. It is clear that Alexander accepts Rogers’s depressed feelings as genuine and recognizes them as the cause of the spiritual problem which clouded his perceptions. Yet Alexander does not conclude that Rogers was damned, nor does he charge him with spiritual backsliding or lack of faith. Rather he sees a severe depression that needed to be understood. Rogers’s depression eventually ran its course, as do most involutional depressions. Many Christians cared for him and prayed on his behalf. After his depression lifted, Rogers became interested in ministering to others who experienced depression. As part of this effort he wrote treatises entitled Recovery from Sickness and Consolation for the Afflicted . Alexander was so impressed with the preface in Rogers’s Discourse on Trouble of Mind and the Disease of Melancholy that he put its contents verbatim into his own Thoughts on Relgious Experience . Those thoughts of Rogers on depression are of such high caliber that I have reproduced them in the appendix. They are the best material I have found on counseling depressed Christians. (© 1984 by William T. Kirwan)

Wing; R1848; Hunter p248

Copies – N.America

Harvard University Houghton Library

Newberry

U.S. National Library of Medicine

Union Theological Seminary

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

University of Texas at Austin

Yale University, Medical School

Trouble of mind and the disease of melancholly

252J.  Timothy Rogers (1658-1728)

A discourse concerning trouble of mind and the disease of melancholly : in three parts : written for the use of such as are, or have been exercised by the same.

London : Printed for Thomas Parkhurst, and Thomas Cockerill at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside, and at the Three Legs in the Poultrey 1691.                      $2, 800

IMG_0209

 

Octavo     inches. A8 (a)-(d)8 (e)4, B-2E8 ( leaf S7 pages 269/270 torn in the out margin affecting one word in each line) first Edition , bound in original calf boards neatly rebacked.

“Rogers was educated at Glasgow University, where he matriculated in 1673, and then studied under Edward Veal at Wapping.Rogers began his career in the dissenting ministry as evening lecturer at Crosby Square, Bishopsgate. Some time after 1682 he was struck down by a form of hypochondria, from which he recovered in 1690, and then became assistant to John Shower. Shower was then minister of the Presbyterian congregation in Jewin Street, and moved in 1701 to the Old Jewry Meeting-house.  Rogers’s hypochondria returned, and in 1707 he left the ministry .(DNB)

Rogers cautions not to blame the devil for this depression:

“Do not attribute the effects of mere Disease, to the Devil”, He describes how the mind can make the body sick: “If a Man, saith he, that is troubled in Conscience, come to a Minister, it may be, he will look all to the Soul, and nothing to the Body; if he come to a Physician, he considereth the Body, and neglecteth the Soul: for my part, I would never have the Physician’s Counsel despised, nor the Labour of the Minister neglected; because the Soul and Body dwelling together, it is convenient, that as the Soul should be cured, by the Word, by Prayer, by Fasting, or by Comforting; so the Body must be brought into some temperature, by Physick, and Diet, by harmless Diversions, and such like ways.” 

“Rogers’s detailed instructions on how to care for patients suffering from `trouble of mind’, especially from `melancholly’ of the religious kind, are particularly valuable because they were written from personal experience; as the extract shows much of his advice can still be usefully applied by the psychiatrist and the psychiatric nurse today. It appears from his biography prefixed to the third edition of his book (London 1808; a second edition appeared in 1706) that he came from a family in which several near relatives were similarly affected ‘so that his case might properly be called natural or hereditary’. In his late twenties he had his first breakdown, ‘a deep and settled melancholy’ lasting two years. On his recovery he wrote this book as an offering ‘for his wonderful restoration’, to discharge ‘the Duty of those Persons whom God hath delivered from Melancholy, and from the anguish of their Consciences’ and to show `What is to be thought of those that are distracted with Trouble for their sins’. However he continued ever after subject to ‘a very unhappy dejection of mind . . . a prey to gloomy fears and apprehensions’, so that he was forced to retire into the country where he continued to manifest ‘though in a more contracted sphere, the same zeal for the honour of God, and for the salvation of the souls of men’.” (300 years of Psychiatry, Richard Hunter, 1963, p248)

Archibald Alexander (17721851), the first professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, was a perceptive student of human behavior. His insights on counseling, especially on dealing with depression, are remarkably valid for today. In his Thoughts on Religious Experience (1844), Alexander wrote concerning the causes of depression:

“ When religious melancholy becomes a fixed disease, it may be reckoned among the heaviest calamities to which our suffering nature is subject. It resists all argument and rejects every topic of consolation, from whatever source it may proceed. It feeds upon distress and despair and is displeased even with the suggestion or offer of relief. The mind thus affected seizes on those ideas and truths which are most awful and terrifying. Any doctrine which excludes all hope is congenial to the melancholy spirit; it seizes on such things with an unnatural avidity and will not let them go. [Alexander 1978, 35] Alexander tells of Timothy Rogers, a London minister who lived from 1658 to 1728. Rogers was a godly, pious, and able pastor. Yet he was overtaken by a severe depression which today would probably be diagnosed as involutional depression. Rogers’s depression was so acute that he “gave up all hope of the mercy of God, and believed himself to be a vessel of wrath, designed for destruction, for the praise of the glorious justice of the Almighty”(Alexander 1978, 35).

Alexander describes Rogers’s condition in terms that tell us the man was clinically depressed, perhaps even psychotically depressed at times. It is clear that Alexander accepts Rogers’s depressed feelings as genuine and recognizes them as the cause of the spiritual problem which clouded his perceptions. Yet Alexander does not conclude that Rogers was damned, nor does he charge him with spiritual backsliding or lack of faith. Rather he sees a severe depression that needed to be understood. Rogers’s depression eventually ran its course, as do most involutional depressions. Many Christians cared for him and prayed on his behalf. After his depression lifted, Rogers became interested in ministering to others who experienced depression. As part of this effort he wrote treatises entitled Recovery from Sickness and Consolation for the Afflicted . Alexander was so impressed with the preface in Rogers’s Discourse on Trouble of Mind and the Disease of Melancholy that he put its contents verbatim into his own Thoughts on Relgious Experience . Those thoughts of Rogers on depression are of such high caliber that I have reproduced them in the appendix. They are the best material I have found on counseling depressed Christians. (© 1984 by William T. Kirwan)

Wing; R1848; Hunter p248

Copies – N.America

Harvard University Houghton Library

Newberry

U.S. National Library of Medicine

Union Theological Seminary

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

University of Texas at Austin

Yale University, Medical School

“The tower of Babel never yielded such confusion of tongues, as the chaos of melancholy doth variety of symptoms”

Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621) is arguably the first major text in the history of Western cognitive science: not because Burton is the first to theorize the nature of cognition or engage in cognitive modeling, as is made plainly evident by the many quasi-plagiarisms and numerous references to other thinkers which appear in Burton’s text, but because of the thematic underpinnings and encyclopedic nature of Burton’s vision. Burton’s theories are based upon no contemporaneously new medical evidence about the anatomical workings of the human body or mind.  ( Carl Stahmer at the University of California, Santa Barbara) http://www.carlstahmer.com/cogsci/burton.php

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319G Burton, Robert. 1577-1640

The Anatomy of Melancholy. What it is, with all the kinds, causes, symptomes, prognostickes, & severall cures of it. In three Partitions, with their severall Sections, members & subsections. Philosophicaly, Medicinally, Historically opened & cut. By Democritus Junior. With a Satyricall Preface conducing to the following Discourse. The fift Edition, corrected and augmented by the Author. Omne tulit punctum qui miscrit utile dulci.

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Oxford: L. Lichfield for H. Cripps, 1638              $ SOLD

Folio, 11 x 7.2 inches. Fifth edition. [π]3, §2, A-K4, A-R4, S6, T-Z4, Aa-Hh4, Ii6, Kk4-Zz4, Aaaa-Eeee4, Ffff2, Gggg-Zzzz4, Aaaaa4.

DSC_0028This edition has the charming pictorial engraved title-page by C. Le Blon, which depicts types of melancholy. The edition also contains the “Argument of the frontispiece” leaf, quite often lacking. This copy is bound in modern full calf, . Some very light browning, occasional spotting, but overall a really nice copy with ample margins.

Burton’s classic study of depression, The Anatomy of Melancholy, “has been more frequently reprinted than almost any other psychiatric text, appearing in over seventy editions since its original publication. Burton believed depression to be both a physical and spiritual ailment. Prompted by his own bouts with the affliction, he employed his considerable erudition and wit to write what amounts to the first psychiatric encyclopedia, citing nearly 500 medical authors in the course of classifying the myriad causes, forms and symptoms of depression, and describing its various cures. The work is also a literary tour-de-force in the tradition of Renaissance paradoxical literature.” (Norman)

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“Burton had read much, and all that he had read, or nearly all, was refined and incorporated into The Anatomy. The whole book is elaborately divided and subdivided into partitions, divisions, sections, members and sub-sections. The first partition is devoted to the definition of his subject and its species and kinds, the causes of it, and—at length—the symptoms: ‘for the Tower of Babel never yielded such confusion of Tongues as the Chaos of Melancholy doth of Symptoms.’ The second deals with the cure, and Burton’s demonstration that it is necessary to live in the right part of the world to avoid melancholy occasions a long digression: a delightful account of foreign lands based—for Burton never travelled—on a wide reading of the cosmographers, and a powerful advocacy of the delights of country life.

DSC_0030The third part deals with the more frivolous kinds of melancholy and the fourth with the serious, Religious Melancholy, with some moving reflections on the ‘Cure of Despair.’ The Anatomy 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.” (Printing & the Mind of Man)

 

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Hypocondriacus leans on his arm, Wind in his side doth him much harm, And troubles him full sore, God knows, Much pain he hath and many woes. About him pots and glasses lie,
Newly brought from’s Apothecary. This Saturn’s aspects signify,
You see them portray’d in the sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Osler notes, “this edition has the distinction – possibly unique for any book – of having been printed piecemeal in three cities.” According to Madan, pages 1-346 were actually printed at Edinburgh but that the Scottish edition was suppressed at the insistence of the Oxford printers, who then agreed to incorporate the pirated pages in the present edition; some 68 leaves, incorporating Burton’s latest changes, were actually reprinted in London. For an account of the printing history of this edition see further Oxford Bib. Soc. Proceedings & Papers I (1922-6), pp. 194-7.
Garrison-Morton 4908.1; Grolier, English, 18; Hunter & Macalpine, pp. 94-99; Jordan-Smith 5; STC 4163; Madan, Oxford books II # 881.

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“The Anatomy was heavily indebted to the cento method of composition, in which the author’s own thoughts are woven together with a tissue of quotations from other writers—so, in outlining the nature and cure of melancholy, Burton engaged in what some modern critics have called a kind of ventriloquism, ostensibly allowing other authors to speak for him. Yet, Burton was not simply a retailer of second-hand learning. The Anatomy’s unique contribution lay not so much in its material, as in the meandering, ironic, playful and persuasive path he cut through it.”

{Mad world: Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy You have access
Michael Edwards}

 

Wonderful prodigies of judgment and mercy…

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631G  Crouch, Nathaniel 1632?-1725?, Robert Burton = Nathaniel Crouch, the compiler..

       Wonderful prodigies of judgment and mercy, discovered in near three hundred memorable histories: containing I. Dreadful Judgments upon Atheists, perjur’d Persons, Blasphemers, Swearers, Cursers and Scoffers. II. The miserable Ends of divers Magicians, Witches, Conjurers, &c. with several strange Apparitions. III. Remarkable Presages of approaching Death, and of Appeals to Divine Justice. IV. The wicked Lives, and woful Deaths of wretched Popes, Apostares, and desperate Persecutors. V. Fearful Judgments upon cruel Tyrants, Murderers, &c. with the whole discovery of Murders. VI. Admirable Deliverances from Imminent Dangers, and Deplorable Distresses at Sea and Land. Vii. Divine Goodness to Penitents: With the dying Thoughts of several Famous Men concerning a Future State after this Life. Collected from Antient and Modern Authors. And Illustrated with Pictures. By Robert Burton

London:Printed for A. Bettesworth at the Red-Lyon, and J. Batley at the Dove, in Pater-noster-Row,1729IMG_0014
$ SOLD

Octavo, . Eighth edition A-H12 This copy is bound in later quarter calf, part of the leather from the spine is missing but it is very solid.

OK so here I go:  Seamen in great distress eat one another ,A bloudy villain murders 3 children, and, A Virgin destroyed by venemous Serpants. A Blasphemer turned into a black dog   And ….

A Woman torn in peices by the Devil. “. At Oster, a Village in Germany, there happened a most strange and fearful judgement upon a Woman who gave her self to the Devil, both Body and Soul, and used horrible Cursings and Oaths against her self and others, which detestable Custom she practised upon all occasions, but more especially at a Marriage in that Village upon St. John Baptist’s day; and though the whole company exhorted her to leave off that monstrous Villany, yet she would not be perswaded , but continued therein till all the People were set at Dinner, and very merry; when the Devil having got full possession of her, suddenly appeared, and taking her away before them all, transported her into the Air with most horrible out-cries and roarings; and in that manner he carried her round about the Town, so that the Inhabitants were ready to die for fear; and soon after tore her body into four pieces, leaving a quarter of her in the four several high-wayes, that all who came by might be witnesses of her punishment; and then returning to the Marriage, he threw her bowels upon the Table before the mayor of the Town, with these words; Behold these Dishes of Meat belong to thee, whom the like destruction awaiteth, if thou dost not amend thy wicked life.
The Reporters of this History were John Herman, the Minister of that Town, with the Mayor himself, and all the Inhabitants, they being desirous to have it known for Examples sake.

 

Further on, no image of this one per se
It was unnatural Lust which brought down Vengeance upon Sodom and Gomorrah, who burning with Fire from Hell, the Almighty burnt them up with Fire from Heaven, and even in this last Age we find dreadful Instances of God’s Wrath for that horrid Abomination. For in the Adventures of Mr. T. S. an English Merchant taken Prisoner by the Turks of Algiers, and carried into the Inland Countries of Africa, we find this wonderful Relation. That near Tezrim, a Town in that Country, in a Meadow, this Gentleman saw the perfect Statue of a Man Buggering his Ass; which was so lively, that at a little distance he thought it to be real, but when he came near, saw they were of perfect Stone; he enquired why the Moors or Arabs that naturally hate all Representations, should shew their Skill by making such beastly Figures, odious to Nature; he was informed tht ths was never made by Man, but that some Person had been turned into that Image with the Ass in the very Moment of the Act, by the mighty Power of God, the fleshly Substance of the Man and Ass being changed into firm Stone, as an eternal Reproach to Mankind. Upon further search he found the Stone to represent not only the perfect Shape, but also the Colour of eveery part of the Man and Beast, with the Sinews, Veins, Eyes, Mouth, in such a lively manner that no Artist could express it better; he endeavoured to move it, but the Company said, Some that had laboured to carry away that Monument of Man’s shameful Lust, could never do it, but either their Persons or Cattle were struck dead in the attempt upon the place, Divine Justice not suffering them to be hid or destroy’d which was placed there for an Example; it being necessary that the Moors should have such signal Testimonies [p.143] of God’s Displeasure always before their Eyes, who commit such filthy Actions more frequently than other Nations. This Gentleman was informed, That at there is a Prodigy of Divine Wrath, five Days Journey from that Town, amongst the Mountains of Gubel, more remarkable than this. Some English Merchants had the Curiosity to go thither, and protest that in the place aforesaid, their is a whole Town full of these Stones in the shape of all manner of Creatures belonging to a City, with Houses, Inhabitants, Beasts, Trees, Walls, and Rooms, distinctly formed: They entered the Houses, and found a Child in a Cradle of Stone, a Woman in a Bed of Stone, a Man at the Door looking Lice of Stone; Camels of several postures of Stone, Cats, Dogs, Mice, &c. of perfect Stone, and so well expressing the several Shapes, Posturs, and Passions, which the Inhabitants were seen at that time, that no Engrave could do the like. All our Merchants and Traders that have been in Tripoly, agree in the Confirmation thereof; the Moors report, That this Town was once very Populous and Fruitful, as may appear by the Trees of Stone of several sorts of Fruit planted round about it, and in the places that retain the forms of Gardens and Orchards; but the Inhabitants being given to all manner of Vice and beastly Lust, to the scandal of human Nature, God Almighty in a Moment stopped all their Actions, and turned their Bodies into firm Stone, that future Ages might see and learn to dread his Power. At Athens is a Stone, representing two Men buggering one another. I know not why we should doubt of these Relations, if we consider the Almighty power of God, who can change Things as it seems good to his Divine Wisdom: Or, if we consider the necessity of such notable Examples of God’s Justice to perpetuate his Displeasure in this dreadful Mannere to future Ages, especially in this Country, where the People are [p.144] addicted to Villanies, which Nature abhors: They being like that of Lot’s Wife, turned into a Pillar of Salt, which some ancient Historians affirm to have been remaining in their Days, many hundred Years after. (Adventures of T. S. p. 238.)
To conclude, innumerable are the Examples in all Ages of divine Vengeance against those crying Sins of Cruelty, Murder, and lust, that Men might fear the Lod, because of the Judgments which he executeth.

 

]BURTON, ROBERT or RICHARD (1632?-1725?), miscellaneous author, whose real name was Nathaniel Crouch, was the author of many books, attributed on the title-page to R. B., to Richard Burton, and (after his death) to Robert Burton. He was born about 1632, and was the son of a tailor at Lewes. Nathaniel was apprenticed on 5 May 1656 for seven years to Livewell Chapman, and at the close of his apprenticeship became a freeman of the Stationers’ Company. He was a publisher, and compiled a number of small books, which, issued at a shilling each, had a great popularity. ‘Burton’s books’ so they were called-attracted the notice of Dr. Johnson, who in 1784 asked Mr. Dilly to procure them for him, ‘as they seem very proper to allure backward readers.’ John Dunton says of him: ‘I think I have given you the very soul of his character when I have told you that his talent lies at collection. He has melted down the best of our English histories into twelve penny books, which are filled with wonders, rarities, and curiosities; for, you must know, his title-pages are a little swelling.’ Dunton professed a ‘hearty friendship for him, but objects that Crouch ‘has got a habit of leering under his hat, and once made it a great part of his business to bring down the reputation of “Second Spira”‘ (a book said to be by Thomas Sewell, published by Dunton). Crouch was also, according to Dunton, ‘the author of the “English Post,” and of that useful Journal intituled “The Marrow of History.”‘ ‘Crouch prints nothing,’ says Dunton, ‘but what is very useful and very diverting.’ Dunton praises his instructive conversation, and says that he is a ‘phoenix author (I mean the only man that gets an estate by writing of books).’ As the name of Thomas Crouch, presumably his son, appears on the title-page of one of Burton’s books in 1726, it may be assumed that he died before that date.

[Records of the Stationers’ Company, obligingly examined for this article by Mr. C. R. Rivington, the clerk; John Dunton’s Life and Errors; Catalogue of the Grenville Collection; Lowndes’s Bibliographer’s Manual; Hawkins’s History of Music, xi. 171; Chalmers’s Biog. Dict.; Book-Lore, 1866.]


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“Teutonick Chimericall extravagances”

ENTHUSIASME [Late Latin enthūsiasmus, from Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein, to be inspired by a god, from entheos, possessed :]

344F  A Treatise concerning Enthusiasme 1656 (second edition)
344F A Treatise concerning Enthusiasme 1656 (second edition)

Political,economic and social stresses take their toll on normative behavior. The late “early modern period” let’s call it 1590-1680  (pre Newton?) was a period of hegemonic disillusion, simultaneously there was an ‘outbreak’ or interpretation of behavior as aberrant and named Enthusiasme  characterize by those who were thought guilty of feigned inspiration, impostures, sectarianism, and extremes of religious passion. Enthusiasm was also associated with sets of physical symptoms—convulsions, ecstatic dancing, prophesying, speaking in foreign tongues.

The England of Burton and Casaubon, the two authors who dedicated a great amount of scholarship to Enthusiame was very different, Burton died (1640) before The Death of Charles I . Causaubon’s book was published in the period between the execution of  King Charles 1st in 1649, and the restoration of Charles 2nd in 1660.  At this time, religious sects were multiplying profusely and their conflicting demands for a restructuring of society were  a threat to political stability in England. The investigation of the  etiology of what was regarded as a religious distemper,ceased to be operative in theological or political terms.  This insufficiency  inspired a great mind such as Casaubon to look for a better ( and maybe more peaceful) understanding of these behaviors.

In Casaubon’s etiological  journey he sets out to impose on general Enthusiasme, distinctions, and specific causes for each of these. He stipulates that some types can arise from mental abnormalities without supernatural intervention. In this view Casaubon is investigating mental illness.

“Physiological accounts of enthusiasm and the application of the category to religious history are indicative of an important shift in Western understandings of the basis of religious belief. The quest for the natural causes of the diversity of religious beliefs, incipient in the treatments of Burton, Casaubon, and More, heralds the beginning of Enlightenment attempts to provide religious beliefs with natural, rather than supernatural, explanations. To a degree, these treatments also lessened the moral stigma associated with religious heterodoxy. Enthusiasm and its critics played a significant role in the secularization of European thought and culture.”

A further not of interest is that Casaubon was concern for the spread of Mahometisme, in the greater part of the world ( America being set aside)

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344F  Casaubon, Meric.  1599-1671

A Treatise Concerning Enthusiasme, As It is an Effect of Nature: but is mistaken by many for either Divine Inspiration, or Diabolicall Possession. By Meric Casaubon, D.D. Second edition: revised, and enlarged.

London: Printed by Roger Daniel, and are to be sold by Thomas Iohnson, at the Golden Key in St. Paul’s Church-yard, Anno, 1656                                           $1,500

Ocatvo, 6.4 x 4.2 inches.  Second edition. A-T8, V6. 297 pages.  This is a good copy in a later quarter calf  binding.

“This was the first separate treatise on enthusiasm, a term used for conditions attributed to possession by a superior power. Casaubon divided it into two kinds; supernatural which was ‘a true possession, whether divine or diabolical,’ and natural ‘whereof all men are capable’ to which belonged the delusions and hallucinations of the insane; the first not less real for being rare, the second common. “Casaubon had read ‘The Life of Sister Katharine of Jesus’ published at Paris, 1628, ‘a long contexture of severall strange raptures and enthusiasms, that had hapned unto a melancholick, or if you will, a devout maid.’ Despite approbations from a cardinal, an archbishop, a bishop and several doctors of divinity, Casaubon could find ‘no great matter of wonder’ in it but instead ‘a perpetuall coherence of naturall causes.’ Disturbed ‘that what by such, and so many, was judged God, and Religion, should be nothing but Nature and Superstition,’ he determined to investigate the whole matter thoroughly and this book was the result. Its main purpose was to survey historically cases and opinions so as to distill and preserve the belief in true divine intervention from adulteration with ‘natural enthusiasm’ with which it was often confused to its disrepute: ‘to embrace a cloud, or a fog for a deity; it is done by many, but it is a foul mistake: let him take heed of it.’

DSC_0003“ ‘A Treatise Concerning Enthusiasm,’ was an enlightened work since in it Casaubon set out to show how various enthusiasms, such as ‘divinatory,’ ‘contemplative,’ ‘rhetorical,’ ‘precatory,’ and others could arise from mental abnormalities without supernatural intervention or imposture. Read today in this sense it was a psychiatric treatise devoted to mental illness with religious coloring and the special problems raised by it. The first extract shows how epileptic phenomena in particular made it difficult to accept all mental illness as ‘natural.’ This was partly because of the dramatic effect of sudden, short-lived, episodic disturbances of consciousness accompanied by convulsions in otherwise normal persons which had given epilepsy its popular name of sacred disease and rise to Hippocrates’s famous pronouncement: ‘it appears to me to be nowise more divine nor more sacred than other diseases, but has a natural cause from which it originates like other affections. Men regard its nature and cause as divine from ignorance and wonder, because it is not at all like to other diseases.’ Another difficulty was that persons suffering from minor epileptic conditions such as temporal lobe disturbances with twilight, dreamy or confusional states — surprisingly known to Casaubon and called by him ‘a more gentle and remiss kind of Epilepsie’ — often report hallucinatory experiences as of another world. These are sometimes elaborated into delusional systems on religious themes. — ‘for it is natural to those that have been epileptical to fall into melancholy’ — especially if repetition of vivid experience perhaps reinforced by a feeling of reminiscence or deja vu has convinced the patient of direct contact with superior powers. A third difficulty was the overzeal in religious matters or religiosity which is a common manifestation of epileptic personality change.
“The mental disturbances in another group of patients seemed also to be inexplicable on natural grounds, namely those whose ‘distemper’ was ‘confined to some one object or other, the brain being otherwise sound and sober’ such as the ‘poor woman in Warwick-shire’ mentioned by Joseph Glanvill, ‘whose habitual conceit it was, that she was Mother of God, and of all things living, and yet when I diverted her to anything else of ordinary matters, she spoke usually with as much sobriety and cold discretion, as could well be expected from a person of her condition.’ This apparent paradox of ‘a sober kind of distraction’ as Casaubon called it, has always been a major stumbling block in psychiatric systems and classifications. […] Casaubon realized that it touched on the fundamental question whether insanity ‘was an error of imagination only, and not of understanding.’ and wondered whether by natural means one faculty could be ‘depraved’ without the other. This dichotomy between an ‘intellective’ or ‘ratiocinative’ and an ‘imaginative’ faculty is still implied in the current psychiatric distinction of mental illness into ‘thought disorder’ or schizophrenia and ‘affective disorder’ or manic-depressive psychosis, and of course forms the basic tenet of the McNaughton Rules (1843) by which ‘a defect of reason, from disease of the mind’ is the ultimate medico-legal test for the presence or absence of absolving insanity.” (Hunter and MacAlpine)
Wing C-813. Please see  Heyd, Michael.Be Sober and Reasonable”: The Critique of Enthusiasm in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries. Leiden, 1995. Argues that reactions against enthusiasm provide important background to the Enlightenment.

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The literary tour-de-force in the tradition of Renaissance paradoxical literature.

Tonight I’ll begin now, where I am or rather what i’m (re) Reading   again and again..

DSC_0031On being blue: a philosophical inquiry

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By William Gass is one of my favorite books, “This small but memorable treatise, written “for all who live in the country of the blue,” examines the color as state of mind, as Platonic Ideal, as a notoriously erotic hue, and as a color of our interior life. In a brilliant, extended meditation, Gass mulls over blue in literature and art, dance, music, and the popular press. No shade or variation escapes his engaged and engaging prose or his vertiginous asides. This is a witty, lyrical, highly original, and beautifully written book that demands to be read and redefines the meaning of a “philosophical inquiry.””Not since Herman Melville pondered the whiteness of Moby Dick has a region of the spectrum been subjected to such eclectic scrutiny. . . Gass gives philosophy back its good old name as a feast that can never sate the mind.”—

 

I read it probably in 1980 or 81 and it lead me to Robert Burtons’ The Anatomy of Melancholy. Not having read much 17th century prose at that time, I was so excited, ” the 17th century IS POST MODERN!!” I exCLAIMED  to Jean Howard, my professor of 17th century literature… and here is why:::: “Il n’y a pas de hors-texte” quote Derrida!

Burton destabilizes Psychology it self 300 years before Lacan castrates Freud!

 

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Burton is by no means a stable ‘Traditional’ Solid subject author, He questions every single criterion of legitimation he encounters, In fact He hovers between reader ,author, editor and critic so ethereally that it is hard to tell if he is on his way to take us out of our own subjective reading at every turn.

Does not Burton inaugurate The crisis identified in Jean-François Lyotard The Postmodern Condition a crisis in the “discourses of the Human Sciences” ?
INDEED He does! it further calls into question literary temporality as an access of recuperation…

MELANCHOLY IS     “That Dangerous Supplement…” which brings us to face the death drive, or the absolute  destruktion (of Heidegger)

Ah Ha! this is where Wm Gass  gets his license to say

“Still, we permit the appearance of our meats, sauces, fruits, and vdgetables to dominate our tongues until it is difficult to divide a twist of lemon or squeeze of lime from the colors of their rinds or separate yellow from its yolk or chocolate from the quenchless brown which seems to be the root, shoot, stalk, and bloom of it. Yet I hardly think the eggplant’s taste is as purple as its skin. In fact, there are few flavors at the violet end, odors either, for the acrid smell of blue smoke is deceiving, as is the tooth of the plum, though there may be just a hint of blue in the higher sauces. Perceptions are always profound, associations deceiving. No watermelon tastes red. Apropos: while waiting for a bus once, I saw open down the arm of a midfat, midlife, freckled woman, suitcase tugging at her hand like a small boy needing to pee, a deep blue crack as wide as any in a Roquefort. Split like paper tearing. She said nothing. Stood. Blue bubbled up in the opening like tar. One thing is certain: a cool flute blue tastes like deep well water drunk from a cup.” 
― William H. GassOn Being Blue

But On Being Blue  ends too fast it is 91 pages of wonder, But next to Burton and his 723 pages, Gass is an Apéritifs to Burton’s Cask!

It is a book everyone should look at! I know that there is an etiquette to Blogging, but I don’t know it (yet maybe) In any case I will go on too long about this book or maybe not, It deserves far more that i can say, write, gesticulate, or quote about…

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Nicholas Lezard writes:

The book to end all books

Nicholas Lezard celebrates The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton, a 17th-century compendium of human thought that is funnier than it sounds

“it is not just Burton’s thoughts on the subject of melancholy, but the thoughts of everyone who had ever thought about it, or about other things, whether that be goblins, beauty, the geography of America, digestion, the passions, drink, kissing, jealousy, or scholarship. Burton, you suspect, felt the miseries of scholars keenly. “To say truth, ’tis the common fortune of most scholars to be servile and poor, to complain pitifully, and lay open their wants to their respective patrons… and… for hope of gain to lie, flatter, and with hyperbolical elogiums and commendations to magnify and extol an illiterate unworthy idiot for his excellent virtues, whom they should rather, as Machiavel observes, vilify and rail at downright for his most notorious villainies and vices.” And that’s a good quote to be getting on with: it shows you that Burton is on the side of the angels, that he’s prepared to stick his neck out, and that he is funny.”

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The Anatomy of Melancholy

Robert Burton, introduction by William H. Gass

One of the major documents of modern European civilization, Robert Burton’s astounding compendium, a survey of melancholy in all its myriad forms, has invited nothing but superlatives since its publication in the seventeenth century. Lewellyn Powys called it “the greatest work of prose of the greatest period of English prose-writing,” while the celebrated surgeon William Osler declared it the greatest of medical treatises. And Dr. Johnson, Boswell reports, said it was the only book that he rose early in the morning to read with pleasure. In this surprisingly compact and elegant new edition, Burton’s spectacular verbal labyrinth is sure to delight, instruct, and divert today’s readers as much as it has those of the past four centuries.

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All I can say is that most modern books weary me, but Burton never does…His writing is like talk, learned but earthy, and once he starts, he is hard to stop…That he was a humorist in our sense of the word we need no biographical facts to attest: The Anatomy of Melancholy is, by a magnificent and somehow very English irony, one of the great comic works of the world.
— Anthony Burgess

No prose writer—ever—has been more of a universe than Robert Burton, self-curing author of The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), an essay on the humors that went utterly out of control and became the craziest, best entertainment ever written in English—far more important than the King James Bible in terms of effect on alpha—class letters.
— William Monahan, Bookforum

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DSC_0027319G  Burton, Robert.   1577-1640

 The Anatomy of Melancholy. What it is, with all the kinds, causes, symptomes, prognostickes, & severall cures of it. In three Partitions, with their severall Sections, members & subsections. Philosophicaly, Medicinally, Historically opened & cut. By Democritus Junior. With a Satyricall Preface conducing to the following Discourse. The fift Edition, corrected and augmented by the Author. Omne tulit punctum qui miscrit utile dulci. 

Oxford: L. Lichfield for H. Cripps, 1638               $5,500

Folio, 11 x 7.2 inches.  Fifth edition.  [π]3, §2, A-K4, A-R4, S6, T-Z4, Aa-Hh4, Ii6, Kk4-Zz4, Aaaa-Eeee4, Ffff2, Gggg-Zzzz4, Aaaaa4.

This edition  has the charming  pictorial  engraved title-page by C. Le Blon, which depicts types of melancholy.  The edition also contains the “Argument of the frontispiece” leaf, quite often lacking. This copy is bound in modern full calf, . Some very light browning, occasional spotting, but overall a really nice copy with ample margins.

Burton’s classic study of depression, The Anatomy of Melancholy, “has been more frequently reprinted than almost any other psychiatric text, appearing in over seventy editions since its original publication. Burton believed depression to be both a physical and spiritual ailment. Prompted by his own bouts with the affliction, he employed his considerable erudition and wit to write what amounts to the first psychiatric encyclopedia, citing nearly 500 medical authors in the course of classifying the myriad causes, forms and symptoms of depression, and describing its various cures. The work is also a literary tour-de-force in the tradition of Renaissance paradoxical literature.” (Norman)

“Burton had read much, and all that he had read, or nearly all, was refined and incorporated into The Anatomy. The whole book is elaborately divided and subdivided into partitions, divisions, sections, members and sub-sections. The first partition is devoted to the definition of his subject and its species and kinds, the causes of it, and—at length—the symptoms: ‘for the Tower of Babel never yielded such confusion of Tongues as the Chaos of Melancholy doth of Symptoms.’ The second deals with the cure, and Burton’s demonstration that it is necessary to live in the right part of the world to avoid melancholy occasions a long digression: a delightful account of foreign lands based—for Burton never travelled—on a wide reading of the cosmographers, and a powerful advocacy of the delights of country life. The third part deals with the more frivolous kinds of melancholy and the fourth with the serious, Religious Melancholy, with some moving reflections on the ‘Cure of Despair.’ The Anatomy 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.” (Printing & the Mind of Man)

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As Osler notes, “this edition has the distinction – possibly unique for any book – of having been printed piecemeal in three cities.” According to Madan, pages 1-346 were actually printed at Edinburgh but that the Scottish edition was suppressed at the insistence of the Oxford printers, who then agreed to incorporate the pirated pages in the present edition; some 68 leaves, incorporating Burton’s latest changes, were actually reprinted in London. For an account of the printing history of this edition see further Oxford Bib. Soc. Proceedings & Papers I (1922-6), pp. 194-7.
Garrison-Morton 4908.1; Grolier, English, 18; Hunter & Macalpine, pp. 94-99; Jordan-Smith 5; STC 4163; Madan, Oxford books II # 881.

“Melancholy, the subject of our present discourse, is either in disposition or in habit. In disposition, is that transitory Melancholy which goes and comes upon every small occasion of sorrow, need, sickness, trouble, fear, grief, passion, or perturbation of the mind, any manner of care, discontent, or thought, which causes anguish, dulness, heaviness and vexation of spirit, any ways opposite to pleasure, mirth, joy, delight, causing forwardness in us, or a dislike. In which equivocal and improper sense, we call him melancholy, that is dull, sad, sour, lumpish, ill-disposed, solitary, any way moved, or displeased. And from these melancholy dispositions no man living is free, no Stoick, none so wise, none so happy, none so patient, so generous, so godly, so divine, that can vindicate himself; so well-composed, but more or less, some time or other, he feels the smart of it. Melancholy in this sense is the character of Mortality… This Melancholy of which we are to treat, is a habit, a serious ailment, a settled humour, as Aurelianus and others call it, not errant, but fixed: and as it was long increasing, so, now being (pleasant or painful) grown to a habit, it will hardly be removed.”

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Further a great proximity to The anatomy::;

By http://drvitelli.typepad.com/providentia/2011/03/burtons-melancholy.html

Burton’s Melancholy

It’s hard to imagine from that unwieldy title page that the book published by Robert Burton in 1621 would become a revolutionary best-seller.   Divided into three parts, The Anatomy of Melancholy was intended to provide a serious overview of a subject that had been largely neglected up to that time.  In his book, Burton avoided providing a precise definition of melancholy (depression) which he felt would “exceed the power of man”.   He also stated that “the letters of the alphabet makes no more variety of words in divers languages” than the various symptoms that melancholy could produce in serious sufferers.    He considered melancholy to be a universal illness (“Who is free from melancholy? Who is not touched more or less in habit or disposition?” No man living is wholly free, no stoic, none so wise, none so happy, none so patient, so generous, so godly, so divine that he does not at some time or other experience its transitory forms. No other misery is so widespread”).

Robert Burton was certainly qualified to write the book.   Born in Leicestershire in 1577, he studied at Christ Church, Oxford and was appointed a vicar in 1616.  Despite having a diverse range of interests, including mathematics and astrology, he also devoted much of his time to the serious study of melancholy.  By all accounts, Robert Burton suffered from frequent episodes of lifelong depression although actual clinical details are lacking.  Hewas one of nine children and his early childhood was apparently an unhappy one.  There also seems to be a family history of melancholy as well since his uncle, Anthony Faunt, died following a “passion of melancholy” in 1588.  Despite being a brilliant student, Burton’s academic career was marked by long periods during which his studies were interrupted.  He finally graduated from Christ Church at the age of twenty-six (nineteen or twenty would have been more typical).  Although the gaps in his education are unaccounted for, his lifelong depression seems to be the most obvious explanation.

There is still little known about Burton’s private life aside from a few anecdotal accounts.   He never married and he socialized infrequently although he spent his entire academic life at Oxford.    While he was frequently depressed, he was also known as “very merry, facete, and juvenile,” and a person of “great honesty, plain dealing, and charity.” He also loved gardening as well as reading in his chambers at Oxford which were “sweetened with the smell of jupiter (incense)”  While he hardly ever travelled, he was an avid cartographer and, in virtual fashion, explored much of the world. Despite being a scholar his entire life, Burton was extremely cynical about his  fellow academics and academia in general.  His reclusive nature didn’t prevent him from being well-regarded by his colleagues and he received prestigious appointments to vicar positions at Oxford and Leicester.    Burton also published various Latin verses as well as works in mathematics and a satirical play in  when which was well received when it was produced in 1617.

It was The Anatomy of Melancholy which made Robert Burton a success though.  Written when the author was in his late forties,  the book had a boisterous tone which antagonized many critics (one of whom dismissed it as “an enormous labyrinthine joke”).   Serious reviewers were also likely put off by the “phantastical title” which Burton had included to attract “silly passengers that will not look at a judicious piece”.   Beginning with the “satyical preface”  that vigourously attacked many of the prevailing views on melancholy, the book quickly led into discussing the topic in earnest.  The first part of the book was dedicated to discussing the causes, symptoms, and prognosis of melancholy, the second part was dedicated to treatment, and the third part focused on the melancholy often associated with love or religion.  Filled with an astounding number of  anecdotes and quotations (including quotations by hundreds of medical writers, theologians, classical writers, historians, and poets) , readers of the book often found Burton’s reasoning to be hard to fathom (I certainly did).   It likely doesn’t help that up to a fifth of the book is in Latin and Burton also used  numerous obscure terms that often mystify modern readers (including words like “stramineous”, “obtretration”, and “amphibological”).

Burton’s theories on melancholy reflected much of the prevailing medical thinking of the time.  Along with attributing the disease to an excess of “black bile” (humour theories were popular at the time), he also suggested that melancholy could be linked to heredity, lack of affection in childhood, and sexual frustration.   Although it was a more credulous era (witches were still being executed for cursing people into madness), Burton avoided supernatural explanations for melancholy.  That’s not to say that he didn’t have his own personal biases though.  He was openly misogynistic and frequently denounced women in general and their “unnatural, insatiable lust” in particular.   Many of his anecdotes focused on the melancholy caused by men pursuing women, material pleasures, and worldly success although he was more cynical than puritanical.   Burton freely admitted that his motivation in writing the book stemmed from his own need to “write of melancholy, by being busy to avoid melancholy.  There is no greater cause of melancholy than idleness, no greater cure than business”.

He originally published the book under the pseudonym of Democritus Junior (Democritus being his favourite Greek philosopher) but Burton’s true identity became known soon enough.  The odd mixture of scholarship, humour, and medical insights was virtually unprecedented in an academic book andAnatomy quickly became one of the most popular books of that era.   Despite the fame and wealth that his book brought to him, Burton’s lifelong melancholy didn’t seem any more manageable as a result.   When he died on January 25, 1640, there were widespread rumours that he had hanged himself in his rooms at Oxford.  Given that Burton had often predicted that he would die when he reached the age of sixty-three, there may be some truth to the rumour.  Considering the harsh punishment for suicidesduring that time (including being buried at a crossroad with a stake through the heart in extreme cases),to the suicide of  a prominent Oxford scholar would have likely been carefully concealed.   Robert Burton was buried in Christ Church cathedral with full honours.  Following Burton’s own instructions, his grave was mared with the following inscription carved under his bust: Paucis Notus Paucioribus Ignotus Hic lacet DEMOCRITUS IUNIOR Cui Vitam Dedit et Mortem Melancholia (“Known to few, unknown to fewer, here lies Democritus Junior, to whom melancholy gave both life and death”).  That the inscription helped reinforce the suicide rumour may well have been unintentional.

Burton’s vast collection of books (more than a thousand volumes) was left to the Oxford University library but it was The Anatomy of Melancholy that was his most lasting contribution.   Although the book fell into neglect just a few decades after Burton’s death, it was frequently cited by later authors – including Samuel Johnson, John Milton, and Laurence Sterne – and came back into popularity by the beginning of the 19th century.  Not only is it considered to be one of the great works of English literature, but it was also one of the first true classics of abnormal psychology.   Digging through Burton’s book may not provide the modern student of psychology with much insight into depression but Robert Burton was definitely a pioneer in his own right.

Link to Anatomy of Melancholy (Project Gutenberg)

 

Frontispiece for the 1638 edition of The Anato...
Frontispiece for the 1638 edition of The Anatomy of Melancholy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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