Robert Burton: The Anatomy of Melancholy

Robert Burton: The Anatomy of Melancholy

Oxford: John Lichfield and James Short, 1621 (Sp Coll BD7-f.21)

Subsection Fifteen of the causes of melancholy.

The above image is a detail from a copy of the first edition of Robert Burton’s work, The Anatomy of Melancholy. It shows the heading of the chapter which describes 'Love of Learning, or overmuch study' as one of the many causes of Melancholy.

Throughout this work are tables, diagrams, italics and printed marginal notes. Such a complicated layout would have been time consuming and difficult for the printer to set. Comparing this volume to modern texts, it is possible to see some differences in printing conventions. For example, the additional notes in the original printed work are found in both the right and left margins, whereas notes like this are generally printed below the text as footnotes in more modern works.

'The Synopsis of the Second Partition.'

This copy contains the signature of an early owner on the front flyleaf dated 1668. It also has pencil annotations throughout. The binding has been repaired, but retains the contemporary front and back boards. There also remains evidence of clasps which were common in early bindings. It was bequeathed to the University of Glasgow Library in the 19th century by William Euing, a Glasgow insurance broker and prolific book collector. Euing's acquisition details are recorded in this volume, including a price code and a printed description of the book (probably from a bookseller's catalogue) pasted onto the reverse of the front flyleaf.

Front flyleaf with ownership inscription dated 1668.  


Second copy of the first edition of The Anatomy of Melancholy held by Special Collections:

Sp Coll 649

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