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Post Easter Melancholy, Robert Burton and Language, Really Great Literature

Posted Mar 31 2013 10:44pm
This post is dedicated to my comrades in epilepsy arms but might amuse anyone


Much of today was spent like this

I guess there's something to be said for staying in one's pajamas nearly all day, reading two collections of short stories -- one by George Saunders and the other by Jamie Quatro -- and allowing both of my sons to play video games all day and to somewhat neglect my daughter. Both books were so fantastic that I was nearly yanked out of my Easter Sunday melancholy, but not quite. I'm feeling obsessed by the Quatro book in particular and am sorry that I finished it. I won't tell you what the short stories are about but think infidelity, sex, religion, the south, Flannery O'Connor weirdness and you'll have some idea. It might be my Every Five Years Or So Book.**

Speaking of literature, I got this email and thought to make it just one post, titled The Bastardization of Language.



Reader, why?

I suppose the definition of literature might include those writings of scientific or medical interest, but the literature on pediatric antiepileptic drugs? To be read on Easter Sunday when in a state of melancholy? Speaking of melancholy, even Robert Burton, the esteemed writer of the seventeenth century titled his tome The Anatomy of Melancholy, What it is: With all the Kinds, Causes, Symptomes, Prognostickes, and Several Cures of it. In Three Maine Partitions with their several Sections, Members, and Subsections. Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically, Opened and Cut Up. That was in 1621. 

If Robert Burton were to have written a book about pediatric anti-epileptic drugs, I figure he'd title it something like The Anatomy of Hell, What it is: With all the Kinds, Causes, Symptomes, Side Effectes, False Prognostickes, and Never a Cure for the Epilepsies. In One Thousand Maine Partitions with their several Sections, Members, and Subsections. Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically, The Braine Opened and Fucked Up.




**I read pretty voraciously -- sometimes up to fifty books a year, not counting poetry and The New Yorker, but it's only every five years or so that I read a novel that knocks me out. The last one I can remember doing so was Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin, and that was in late 2009, so it's a little early to be counting it, but I Want to Show You More might be a contender.








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