By Rober Burton
Edited by Floyd Dell and Paul Jordan Smith
On December fifth, three hundred and more years agor, in his study at Christ Church, Oxford, a curious, middle-aged scholar wrote the last lines of one of the most entertaining and amazing books in the world. It is a sort of literary cosmos, an omnium gatherum, a compedium of everything that caught the fancy of the scholar who lived in an unspecialized age.
Poetry, medicine, psychology, philosophy, old wives’ tales, philology, wars, antiquarian lore, theology, morals, history, climatology, travel, food, love, hate, ambition, pride, astrology, art,politics and a scheme for the establishment of Utopia – all these and more are poured forth helter-skelter by this 17th century mathematician, vicar, rector, reckoner of nativities in a style abounding in quaint conceits, sly humor and not without a certain vain of unmalicious satire.
The Anatomy is one of the most comfortable books that ever graced a library, as entracing as Rebelais, or its own stepchild, Tristram Shandy; the “bed book” par excellence; the true companion of every honest pipe and homely pewter mug; a source of incomparable literacy pleasure, as he who reads will find.
This attractive and readable edition is compete with the Latin passages for the first time translated into modern English.