In 1621, Robert Burton published The Anatomy of Melancholy. It was the first attempt in the modern western world to understand and categorise causes, symptoms and treatments of that universal human experience.
Writing from Oxford where he was a life-long scholar, librarian of Christ Church and a vicar, Burton drew on the writing of others and also his own experiences.
Four hundred years on, when clinical depression is stated to be the leading cause of global disability, and there are many challenges to our mental health, a new series for BBC Radio 4 is asking: how far have we come? And is there anything we can learn from Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy to help us today?
This new BBC Radio 4 series will run across two weeks from Monday 11 May, Mon-Fri, 1.45 pm, with an omnibus edition on Friday evenings.
Simon Russell Beale will read sections of The Anatomy throughout.
Professor John Geddes, Head of Department, will feature in episodes 1, 2 and 10. He has also been a series consultant.