Some Anatomies of Melancholy (Penguin Great Ideas)

Some Anatomies of Melancholy (Penguin Great Ideas)

Language: English

Pages: 160

ISBN: 0141042478

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Not simply an investigation into melancholy, these unique essays form part of a panoramic celebration of human behaviour from the time of the ancients to the Renaissance. God, devils, old age, diet, drunkenness, love and beauty are each given equal consideration in this all-encompassing examination of the human condition. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.

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mad.’ Of such men belike Hippocrates speaks, 1 Aphor. 5, whenas he saith, ‘They more offend in too sparing diet, and are worse damnified, than they that feed liberally and are ready to surfeit.’ Love-Melancholy There will not be wanting, I presume, one or other that will much discommend some part of this treatise of love-melancholy, and object (which Erasmus in his preface to Sir Thomas More suspects of his) ‘that it is too light for a divine, too comical a subject’ to speak of love-symptoms,

book; She ’ll read again when Brutus does not look.] But let these cavillers and counterfeit Catos know, that, as the Lord John answered the queen in that Italian Guazzo, an old, a grave, discreet man is fittest to discourse of love matters, because he hath likely more experience, observed more, hath a more staid judgment, can better discern, resolve, discuss, advise, give better cautions and more solid precepts, better inform his auditors in such a subject, and by reason of his riper years

itself. Well might Stesichorus be blind for carping at so fair a creature, and a just punishment it was. The same testimony gives Homer of the old men of Troy, that were spectators of that single combat between Paris and Menelaus at the Scæan gate, when Helena stood in presence; they said all, the war was worthily prolonged and undertaken for her sake. The very gods themselves (as Homer and Isocrates record) fought more for Helena than they did against the giants. When Venus lost her son Cupid,

Philostratus speaks, of so pernicious an eye, he poisoned all he looked steadily on: and that other argument, menstruæ feminæ, out of Aristotle’s Problems, morbosæ Capivaccius adds, and Septalius the Commentator, that contaminate a looking-glass with beholding it. ‘So the beams that come from the agent’s heart, by the eyes, infect the spirits about the patients, inwardly wound, and thence the spirits infect the blood.’ To this effect she complained in Apuleius, ‘Thou art the cause of my grief;

his voluminous tract de Angelo Custode, Zanchius, and some divines think. But this absurd tenent of Tyrius, Proclus confutes at large in his book de anima et dæmone. Psellus, a Christian, and sometime tutor (saith Cuspinian) to Michael Parapinatius, Emperor of Greece, a great observer of the nature of devils, holds they are corporeal, and have ‘aerial bodies, that they are mortal, live and die,’ (which Martianus Capella likewise maintains, but our Christian philosophers explode), ‘that they are

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