This is the third and final text volume of the Clarendon edition of Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy. It contains `The Third Partition', `The Table', edited from 1624-1651 editions, and their textual apparatus, and an Index of Persons. Also included are three appendices: `The Conclusion of the Author to the Reader', which occurs only in the 1621 edition, a list of stop-press corrections to the 1632 edition, and the edited Synoptic
Tables.The Third Partition is made up of two grand digressions which conclude Burton's earlier arguments on the causes and cures of melancholy. In the first digression he anatomizes love melancholy, its kinds, causes and symptom, and cures. No one up to his time had dealt more elaborately, or more thoroughly, with
the components of love. Certain sections, `Beauty a Cause', of `Jealousie, his Æquivocations, Name, Definition, Extent ...' are no less engaging today than when they were first written. In the second, religious melancholy, he surveys the aberrations from true religious commitment which are the cause of this melancholy. To Burton the divine, no other manifestation of melancholy was as serious as this, and his words of comfort, consolation, and encouragement, are a fitting end to his
dissection of a disease that all are heir to.
`Rambling, anecdotal, full of exaggeration and digression, this volume is lit with the sympathy and humour that give Burton's writing its charm ... There is poetry and a kindness here that reaches across the centuries .
`He moves, more tactfully than formal rhetoric might allow, and yet with a hunter's instinct, through resonances that are themselves part of the accumulating memory of post-Reformation written and spoken English. ... he writes in commanding knowledge of ancient and modern predecessors ... and in the sharp awareness that priorities and circumstances are in process of change ... A sense of authorial pride and a sense of massive and grateful indebtedness seem
to hold together in Burton.'
Times Literary Supplement
'The three volumes comprising this portion of the Clarendon edition (two volumes of commentary are yet to come) provide the most thorough, scholarly, and useful edition of Burton's Anatomy ever produced. The editors' foresight and insight amazes, and the physical text itself is as presentable and readable as possible. No scholarly library of English-Renaissance works will want to be without this invaluable edition.'
William C. Johnson, Northern Illinois University, Sixteenth Century Journal XXV/4 (1994)
`They contain the complete text and the variant readings...the appearance of this fascinating, eccentric, and genuinely poetic work is very handsome...a responsible publication of an old author should serve both the research scholar and the common reader.'
The New York Review
`we have an authoritative edition of one of the most important, as well as compendious, works of seventeenth century literature and science...The editors and the Oxford Press deserve our thanks in bringing this giant task to completion in a readable form...for literary scholars and specialists, it can no longer be said that Burton 'awaits his editor''