The Anatomy Of Melancholy: Episode 5

Non-captioned version here.

I love this episode almost unreservedly. I love the imagery of our coexistence with spirts and devils, the means to see them and the description of our planet as ‘a dark star over which the least of the gods presides’. I love the confidence of the maths calculating the distance between heaven and earth and the introduction of angels, both good and bad. This earnestness and credulity provokes in me a similar breathtaking, heart stopping love and compassion to that which I felt when my five year old daughter, fresh home from primary school, would explain to me how the world works.

I know this nostalgia for the seventeenth century is misplaced, that these theories must have been put in place to explain an otherwise capricious world, a world in which an unfortunate Cooper’s daughter may very well be overcome by malevolent spirits and caused to vomit up extraordinary matter for fourteen days, but I love it. I know I am surrendering to my own private fiction when I listen to this episode but this fiction still fills me with wonder and when I gaze up at ‘the starry heaven’ and contemplate an expanding universe and gravitational waves from the Big Bang that wonder remains undiminished.

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