The Anatomy Of Melancholy: Episode 17

A non-captioned version can be seen here.

Helpfully here, in the first of three episodes focusing on the symptoms of melancholy, Robert Burton gives us an easy guide to help us identify people who are suffering from the complaint, either from their appearance or from their behaviour.

As often happens when digesting The Anatomy Of Melancholy I start this episode thinking “this is crackers” and conclude thinking “actually he’s probably got a point there”. I start by laughing, childishly, at the term ‘flaggy beard’. The notion of identifying someone as melancholic because of he state of their beard strikes me as absurd. Later I revisit the assertion and grudgingly admit that, if someone has given up shaving or given up trimming their beard there’s a good chance they’ve given up caring what they look like, due to melancholia. You may argue that the bearded man is a hipster and thus not truly melancholic, but surely any hipster whose beard is dismissed as ‘flaggy’ would be necessity be miserable. Burton’s point is proved.

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