First Published: September 2012
Revised (substantive): 12 June 2014
S O R R Y, but this e-publication page — with an HTML transcript of Robert Burton’s two essays on air quality and its effects on health from The Anatomy of Melancholy (Oxford, 1621) — is still under construction.
We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope that you will return to check on its progress another time.
In particular, Burton’s “Digression of the Air” is an excellent synopsis of scientific knowledge to date, and deals with a typically baroque range of topics: the atmosphere, the earth, earthquakes, the antipodes, optics, biological diversity (evolution), the tides & oceans, human phenotypes, the plurality of worlds, the “discovery” of America (which Burton attributed to divine revelation), and more.
Here, as elsewhere in his encyclopedic Anatomy of Melancholy, Burton takes an ecological approach to health care (e.g., linking air quality to melancholy and its cure). And he actively promotes the central role of science, along with mathematical studies, in the human quest for well-being.
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