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The Renaissance Research Article from History Firsthand

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Robert Burton

English scholar, writer, and Anglican clergyman Robert Burton (1577–1640) epitomized the Renaissance scientific approach with the publication of his massive work, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621). Melancholy, or melancholia, is characterized by deep depression and hopelessness. As a clergyman, Burton confronted people in this condition on a daily basis, for which he applied spiritual remedies. Burton himself admitted he suffered from melancholy, saying that he wrote about melancholy to cure himself of it. However, not content to rely on spiritual explanations and cures, he set about to study depression on a physical, psychological, and cultural basis. To his critics who suggested he should stick to healing the soul, he argued that the spiritual and medicine were closely allied and needed to work together to cure the whole person.

The following selection from The Anatomy of Melancholy demonstrates the extent of Burton's scholarly...

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This section contains 1,798 words
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Buy The Renaissance Encyclopedia Article
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The Renaissance from Greenhaven. ©2001-2006 by Greenhaven Press, Inc., an imprint of The Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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