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Melancholy, Medicine and Religion in Early Modern England: Reading 'The Anatomy of Melancholy'
     

Melancholy, Medicine and Religion in Early Modern England: Reading 'The Anatomy of Melancholy'

by Mary Ann Lund
 

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The Anatomy of Melancholy, first published in 1621, is one of the greatest works of early modern English prose writing, yet it has received little substantial literary criticism in recent years. This study situates Robert Burton's complex work within three related contexts: religious, medical and literary/rhetorical. Analysing Burton's claim that his text

Overview

The Anatomy of Melancholy, first published in 1621, is one of the greatest works of early modern English prose writing, yet it has received little substantial literary criticism in recent years. This study situates Robert Burton's complex work within three related contexts: religious, medical and literary/rhetorical. Analysing Burton's claim that his text should have curative effects on his melancholic readership, it examines the authorial construction of the reading process in the context of other early modern writing, both canonical and non-canonical, providing a new approach towards the emerging field of the history of reading. Lund responds to Burton's assertion that melancholy is an affliction of body and soul which requires both a spiritual and a corporal cure, exploring the theological complexion of Burton's writing in relation to English religious discourse of the early seventeenth century, and the status of his work as a medical text.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Overall, Melancholy, Medicine and Religion in Early Modern England has stimulating things to say on many aspects of the Anatomy."
Michael Edwards, Jesus College

"... clear and forthrightly argued ..."
Modern Philology

"There is much illuminating discussion here. Building on previous scholarship which has situated Burton's account of despair in the context of Jacobean and Caroline religious politics, Lund makes a good case for the influence of the Danish Lutheran Niels Hemmingsen, and draws interesting comparisons with less well-known contemporary English figures such as Robert Bolton and Robert Yarrow ... [the book] develops and persuasively reorientates a significant strand of Burton criticism, and presents a nuanced vision of the relationship between early modern writers and their imagined readers."
English Historical Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781107659964
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
09/19/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
236
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Mary Ann Lund is Lecturer in Renaissance Literature at the University of Leicester.

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