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The Worlds of Renaissance Melancholy
Robert Burton in Context

£32.99

Part of Ideas in Context

  • Date Published: August 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107403017

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About the Authors
  • Angus Gowland investigates the theory of melancholy and its many applications in the Renaissance by means of a wide-ranging contextual analysis of Robert Burton's encyclopaedic Anatomy of Melancholy (first published in 1621). Approaching the Anatomy as the culmination of early modern medical, philosophical and spiritual inquiry about melancholy, Gowland examines the ways in which Burton exploited the moral psychology central to the Renaissance understanding of the condition to construct a critical vision of his intellectual and political environment. In the first sustained analysis of the evolving relationship of the Anatomy (in the various versions issued between 1621 and 1651) to late Renaissance humanist learning and early seventeenth-century England and Europe, Gowland corrects the prevailing view of the work as an unreflective digest of other authors' opinions, and reveals the Anatomy's character as a polemical literary engagement with the live intellectual, religious and political issues of its day.

    • Presents and analyses Renaissance ideas about melancholy within a range of historical contexts
    • Was the first historical study of this canonical work of English literature since 1959
    • Was the first comprehensive analysis and interpretation of the modifications made by the author to the different editions of the Anatomy issued between 1621 and 1651
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: '… Angus Gowland's new study demonstrates that there is still room in the field for fresh and stimulating work. … Incisive and well-researched, Gowland's study offers readers a comprehensive and original examination of one of early modern England's most interesting thinkers.' Cahiers Elisabethains

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107403017
    • length: 358 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Acknowledgements
    Conventions
    Introduction
    1. The medical theory of melancholy
    2. Dissecting medical learning
    3. Melancholy and divinity
    4. The melancholy body politic
    5. Utopia, consolation, and withdrawal
    Conclusion: Robert Burton's melancholy
    Bibliographies.

  • Author

    Angus Gowland, University College London

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