Join us for a online talk from Fellow and Tutor in English and Fellow Librarian Dr Kathryn Murphy on her work in curating the Bodleian exhibition “Melancholy: A New Anatomy” taking place on Tuesday, 22nd February 2022 from 6pm.
Dr Kathryn Murphy, Fellow and Tutor in English/ Fellow Librarian, is a literary critic and scholar with interests in several areas, including literature and philosophy in the seventeenth century; the genre of the essay, from Montaigne to the present; Renaissance art; and poetry and etymology. In addition to her scholarly writing, she is a critic and essayist, writing regularly about painting and still life for Apollo Magazine, and reviewing Czech literature for the TLS. She is currently a judge for the EBRD prize for translated fiction, and recently published the co-edited volume On Essays: From Montaigne to the Present (OUP). She is writing a book about melancholy, attention, and distraction, called Robert Burton: A Vital Melancholy, for Reaktion Press.
Melancholy: A New Anatomy
‘Who is not a Foole, who is free from Melancholy?’, asked Robert Burton, 400 years ago, and answered his own question: ‘all the world is mad, is melancholy, dotes’. Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, first published in 1621, is a compendious and labyrinthine study of this universal condition, which attempts to metabolise all relevant ancient and Renaissance scholarship on behalf of the reader. A new Bodleian exhibition, curated by Dr Kathryn Murphy and a team from the Department of Psychiatry, celebrates the Anatomy at 400, and explores the contemporary resonances of his sprawling investigation of the causes, symptoms, and cures of emotional distress. Burton was himself an early user and a donor to the Bodleian, and the exhibition uses the collections to show parallels and contrasts between early modern and contemporary cures for melancholy. The exhibition runs until 20th March 2022 and more information can be found on the Bodleian’s website.
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