It is a curiosity, a marvel. It is singular. It attempts to catalog the ills -- spiritual, mental, and physical -- of mankind, diagnosing them in terms drawn from the author's prodigious mastery of several millennia of classical literary heritage. It is Johnsonian in this regard (and Johnson himself is reported to have said that The Anatomy
, published in 1621, was ''the only book that ever took him out of bed two hours sooner than he wished to rise''-- high praise indeed), humbly depending on a catena of earlier authors to describe any subject at hand. If you ask us if we have read its 1382 pages through, we will again quote Dr. Johnson and reply, ''we have looked into it...do you read books through?'' Whether you ''look into it'' or ''read it through,'' we guarantee vastly more than your money's worth of eloquence, humor, and imaginative nourishment. Includes two introductions (notable in their own right) and the Greek and Latin notes of Burton's original text.
An Eighth Day View:
A known masterpiece in Burton's lifetime, the Anatomy of Melancholy was rediscovered by Samuel Johnson in the 18th century, the Romantics in the 19th, and is equally captivating today. It is an epic work of scholarship and imagination. This work is cited in Books for College Libraries, 3d ed. It is one of the major documents of modern European civilization, a survey not only of melancholy in all its myriad forms, but also of humanity's endless efforts to assuage it. First published in 1621, the book was an immediate popular success. The New York Review Books edition was edited by Holbrook Jackson in 1932. This new edition contains a new introduction by William Gass, director of the International Writer's Center.