Radio 4 is running a series of programmes about The Anatomy of Melancholy in the coming days. Here is a speech I wrote in the late 1990s about the book.
Robert Burton was a man who knew a thing or two about depression. He wrote three volumes, nearly 1500 pages, about its causes, symptoms and cures. His book is called The Anatomy of Melancholy, and he devoted almost his whole life to writing it. He was born in 1577, making him a contemporary of Shakespeare. He went to Oxford University in 1593, and never ventured much further than the library, until his death forty-seven years later.