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The Anatomy of Melancholy

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The Anatomy of Melancholy

Postby Big John » Mon Aug 02, 2004 5:39 pm

This is the title of a book described thusly at Amazon.com:

One of the major documents of modern European civilization, Robert Burton’s astounding compendium, a survey of melancholy in all its myriad forms, has invited nothing but superlatives since its publication in the seventeenth century. Lewellyn Powys called it “the greatest work of prose of the greatest period of English prose-writing,” while the celebrated surgeon William Osler declared it the greatest of medical treatises. And Dr. Johnson, Boswell reports, said it was the only book that he rose early in the morning to read with pleasure. In this surprisingly compact and elegant new edition, Burton’s spectacular verbal labyrinth is sure to delight, instruct, and divert today’s readers as much as it has those of the past four centuries.

I loved this book and am finding it quite helpful for getting a feel for Latin because this work contains Latin sentences, many of which the editor has translated into English in brackets directly after the Latin sentence itself. There are easily a couple of hundred of these translated sentences. As I read through the book, I used a pen to check off those sentences and clauses I found most helpful. This has, so far at least, proven to be an enjoyable way to get a feel for this language which lacks any definite articles to know and love. Moreover, the great difficulty, for me at least, of getting used to highly inflected languaes where word order seems to serve the sole purpose of emphasis is somewhat lessened by the multitude of examples presented here that allows one to get a feel for what Latin is about. At the very least I have found it fruitful to observe
the ways in which Latin has found its way into English.
The version I am using is: The Anatomy of Melancholy (New York Review Books Classics) edition. The others may be great as well, but I have no idea if this is so.
Anyway, I plan to write down and analyze all the sentences I have marked so that I can learn latin in a more systematic way.
Well, hope this helps.
Big John
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Postby Episcopus » Mon Aug 02, 2004 6:32 pm

uh why don't you just use D'Ooge mate...
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Just a start

Postby Big John » Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:21 pm

Well, I'm sure that the material you mentioned is just fine. The thing is I had this book I wrote of months before I joined the list, so I was really only mentioning it as a possible way to help those folks who may not
be sure which way to go. In any event it is a work that is pretty cool reading in and of itself so it might be a worthwile purchase for that reason alone.
I want to say that I think that formal study of a good text is imperative for a person that wants to learn Latin well. I know that I needed to get a look at Latin in a less formal setting just to see if I could tackle it at all. When I was a kid, Latin had all but vanished from most schools but like a legendary monster the great difficulty of the subject lived on in horror stories of how awful it was. Therefore I needed to see if it was as bad as it had been described. Well, it certainly looks like a major challenge, but, just perhaps, it now seems approachable.
Thanks for your suggestion which I will look into shortly.
Big John


Episcopus wrote:uh why don't you just use D'Ooge mate...
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