Tuesday, January 6, 2015


“Kingdoms and provinces are melancholy, cities and families, all creatures, vegetable, sensible, and rational – that all sorts, sects, ages, conditions, are out of tune … For indeed, who is not a fool, melancholy, mad?”

One day Ima gonna sit down and read Robert Burton’s million-page 1621 treatise The Anatomy of Melancholy.  Not that I’m melancholy-by-nature, per se, no more so than the average person, though perhaps melancholia knocks on my door a tad more frequently (whether I answer that knock is, well, dependent on more things than I care to go into in this post).  No, simply for the pure challenge of it.  (I have a bookmark on my Google chrome “most difficult reads”, and two or three of the frequent guests upon those lists are sitting on the bookshelf behind me.)

I remember taking the book out from one of the local libraries, their sheer heft of it, the ancient-icity of its pages (the book looked as if it was bound in the 1640s).  Admired the thousands of its pages, the type, the italics, the Latin poetry, page upon page upon page, and I knew this was something I had to conquer, to overcome, to master in a way no one else has, with the possible exception of Burton himself.

Never did read more than a dozen or so pages.

But it is not a challenge for right now, or for the foreseeable future.  Perhaps never in this too-short lifetime, but a bibliophile can dream, can’t he?

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