Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy. It begins with a brief biographical sketch of Burton. It then outlines the principal interpretative problems posed by the Anatomy to modern readers, offering some suggestions about how these can be approached and possibly resolved. Next, the chapter discusses some of the key features of the book — particularly the relationship between its medical psychology and literary rhetoric — as Burton himself conceived them. It is shown how Burton's own remarks about his enterprise, and its intended effects on its readership, help us to anchor our reading of a text that sometimes seems to have been designed to beguile and confuse just as it informs and entertains.

Keywords: English prose, prose writing, prose style, medical psychology, literary rhetoric

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.