London: Printed for Thomas M'Lean... 1826. Leather. Two volumes (complete), octavo size, 1088 total pp. Very Good. Item #14100303
First published in 1621, this book is presented as a medical textbook in which Robert Burton (1570-1640) applies his vast and varied learning to the subject of melancholia; as much a work of literature as it is a scientific or philosophical text, "The Anatomy of Melancholy" emphasises the self and psychology, rather than natural science, as humankind's greatest need. Melancholy, resulting from a build-up of "black bile", according to the humour theory popular at the time, was responsible "for the wild passions and despairs of lovers, the agonies and ecstasies of religious devotees, the frenzies of madmen, and the studious abstraction exemplified by scholars such as Shakespeare or Milton" (n. b., info from Wikipedia).
Apparently Robert Burton suffered from depression himself, which makes this work the more poignant; in the Preface, Burton writes: "I write of melancholy, by being busy to avoid melancholy. There is no greater cause of melancholy than idleness, no better cure than business." Apparently there was "a rumor" that he committed suicide, but this remains unsubstantiated.
"Anatomy of Melancholy" has continued to be read down through the centuries, being reprinted countless times; it was a favourite work of Dr. Samuel Johnson who stated it was "the only book that ever took him out of bed two hours sooner than he wished to rise" (n.b., quote from Boswell's "Life of Johnson").
___DESCRIPTION: Full brown calf over bevelled boards, debossed ruled borders and ornaments in black on the front and rear boards, debossed decorative turn-ins, the spine with five raised bands, black rules and ornaments, two red leather labels with gilt rules and lettering, all edges stained red, leather turn-ins with black decorative borders, marbled endpapers in red, blue, yellow, and pink, Volume I with engraved pictorial title page from the eighth edition; octavo size (8.75" by 5.5"), pagination: Volume I: [i-xi] xii  2-461 ; Volume II: [i-ii]  2-612.
___CONDITION: Very good, with clean boards, the leather smooth and supple, straight corners, strong, square text blocks with solid hinges, the interiors are clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; overall light scuffing to the leather, some light overall rubbing to the extremeties, front joint of Volume I is slightly cracked but the board is still firmly attached, both volumes with light foxing to the versos of the endpapers and front and rear flyleaves.
___POSTAGE: Please note that this is an unusually heavy set, and therefore additional postage may apply; please inquire for details.
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