Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Don't Get Too Excited

Promise not to get too excited but I'm reading THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY just like I promised. I'm only on page 27 and I've already read three or four passages aloud to Dr. Theresa. Like when Robert Burton says that these books they're publishing these days (in 1621) aren't even good enough for a monkey's butt! Do you think I paraphrase too loosely? Allow me to give you the exact quotation: "Any scurrile pamphlet is welcome to our mercenary Stationers in English, they print all, and pound out pamphlets on the leaves of which even a poverty-stricken monkey would not wipe." But he's hard on himself, too, calling his own work "a rhapsody of rags gathered from several dung-hills... toys and fopperies confusedly tumbled out, without art, invention, judgment, wit, learning, harsh, raw, rude, phantastical, absurd, insolent, indiscreet, ill-composed, indigested... thou canst not think worse of me than I do of myself. 'Tis not worth reading, I yield it." On the other hand he compares himself to an innkeeper who, when you complain about the service, "replies, in a surly tone: If you do not like this, get you to another Inn: I resolve, if you like not my writing, go read something else. I do not much esteem thy censure, take thy course." And for some reason I thought of "internet" commenters when I read, "People deem things easy that are already done, nor do they consider the rough places after the road is made."