English churchman and scholar Robert Burton (1577-1640) was a passionate student of medicine, history, literature, and science — the whole of human knowledge. This witty and eloquent genius devoted most of this life to writing The Anatomy of Melancholy, one of the richest, most inexhaustible books in the English language. Ostensibly an elaborately systematized medical treatise dealing with various morbid mental states — their causes, symptoms, and cures — the Anatomy is much more: a compendium of memorable utterances on the human condition in general, compiled from classical, scholastic, and contemporary sources. For this edition, the editors carefully selected passages of the most psychological and general interest, eliminating the nonessential material but retaining the incomparable humor, eccentric charm, imagination, and thought-provoking appeal of the original. In short, readers will find here the essence of Burton's vast book — the passages that, according to noted scholar W. H. D. Rouse, reveal the author's "eternal freshness, his own ingenuous interest, [and] his boyish delight in a good story."