A genuine 17th century classic has emerged onto the book collectors' markets recently in the form of the Anatomy of Melancholy, (What it is. With all the Kindes, Causes, Symptomes, Prognosticks, and several Cures of it) by Democritus Junior.
Democritus Junior is the persona that the actual author, Richard Burton, took on to discuss melancholy (or depression). But the book goes far beyond its stated aims and sprawls into every topic from doctrines of religion to military discipline, often with a satirical tone.
A unique blend of scientific, philosophical and literary styles, it is laid out as follows:the first part defines melancholy in all its aspects; the second suggests a cure; the third deals with the frivolous forms of melancholy; and the fourth concerns itself with religious melancholy.
An anatomy, one of the most popular and influential books of the seventeenth century, it has since proved an important text for medical historians and scholars seeking insight into the Elizabethan conception of self.
The rare book traders offering the work claim that its enthusiasts include(d): Samuel Johnson, Laurence Sterne, John Keats (who said it was his favorite book), Charles Lamb, Samuel Beckett, Jorge Luis Borges, Philip Pullman, and Cy Twombly.
The first edition in full brown Levant and gilt is in fine condition, and listed at $45,000, and could offer a high quality investment.
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