Robert Musil, , ed. Adolf Frisé (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1976), 1:665; Robert Musil, ,, selected and trans. Philip Payne, ed. Mark Mirsky (New York: Basic Books, 1998), 326 (where Payne renders as “creative writer”). Many of Musil’s essays can be sampled in the fine English collection, Robert Musil, , ed. and trans. Burton Pike and David S. Luft (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).
By the Middle Ages, the theory of the four humours still held sway in treating every medical problem and it’s through this lens that Burton perceived depression. While Burton believed that melancholia’s physical origins lay in a buildup of black bile, what makes his work unique and prescient is that he viewed the disorder holistically. Melancholia, then, was not so much a religious or humoral problem nor a temperamental one, but rather a medical and philosophical one... an approach foreshadowing the psychoanalysts that would come so many centuries later.
Robert Burton - Bio, Facts, Family | Famous Birthdays
For one, he’s big and brutal – just like the dumb angry mobs that used to attack the Jews. He doesn’t shy away from knocking heads together and tramping on them. The Jews needed something supernatural, but popular, to give them hope in those dark witch-burning ages of the 16th century. The Golem is also mostly robot, created by a cabbalist rabbi who got his secret knowledge by occult means – which meant that wisdom and book-reading were the ghetto-dwellers’ best chance out of the shithole that was Europe. The common people, who toiled for a living, wanted something practical from their scholars. Of course, the Golem is a sweet robot that didn’t help much. He also had human feelings, a flaw his maker didn’t foresee. Jews continued to be persecuted for a few more centuries after the Golem was destroyed, and they are not out of the woods yet.