Sir Francis Bacon Essay Of Studies

Essayes: Religious Meditations. Places of Perswasion and Disswasion. Seene and Allowed (1597) was the first published book by the philosopher, statesman and juristFrancis Bacon. The Essays are written in a wide range of styles, from the plain and unadorned to the epigrammatic. They cover topics drawn from both public and private life, and in each case the essays cover their topics systematically from a number of different angles, weighing one argument against another. A much-enlarged second edition appeared in 1612 with 38 essays. Another, under the title Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall, was published in 1625 with 58 essays. Translations into French and Italian appeared during Bacon's lifetime.[1][2]

Critical reception[edit]

Though Bacon considered the Essays "but as recreation of my other studies", he was given high praise by his contemporaries, even to the point of crediting him with having invented the essay form.[3][4] Later researches made clear the extent of Bacon's borrowings from the works of Montaigne, Aristotle and other writers, but the Essays have nevertheless remained in the highest repute.[5][6] The 19th century literary historian Henry Hallam wrote that "They are deeper and more discriminating than any earlier, or almost any later, work in the English language".[7]

Aphorisms[edit]

Bacon's genius as a phrase-maker appears to great advantage in the later essays. In Of Boldness he wrote, "If the Hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill", which is the earliest known appearance of that proverb in print.[8] The phrase "hostages to fortune" appears in the essay Of Marriage and Single Life – again the earliest known usage.[9]Aldous Huxley's book Jesting Pilate took its epigraph, "What is Truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer", from Bacon's essay Of Truth.[10] The 1999 edition of The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations includes no fewer than 91 quotations from the Essays.[11]

Contents listing[edit]

The contents pages of Thomas Markby's 1853 edition list the essays and their dates of publication as follows:[12]

  • Of Truth (1625)
  • Of Death (1612, enlarged 1625)
  • Of Unity in Religion/Of Religion (1612, rewritten 1625)
  • Of Revenge(1625)
  • Of Adversity (1625)
  • Of Simulation and Dissimulation (1625)
  • Of Parents and Children (1612, enlarged 1625)
  • Of Marriage and Single Life (1612, slightly enlarged 1625)
  • Of Envy (1625)
  • Of Love (1612, rewritten 1625)
  • Of Great Place (1612, slightly enlarged 1625)
  • Of Boldness (1625)
  • Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature (1612, enlarged 1625)
  • Of Nobility (1612, rewritten 1625)
  • Of Seditions and Troubles (1625)
  • Of Atheism (1612, slightly enlarged 1625)
  • Of Superstition (1612, slightly enlarged 1625)
  • Of Travel (1625)
  • Of Empire (1612, much enlarged 1625)
  • Of Counsels (1612, enlarged 1625)
  • Of Delays (1625)
  • Of Cunning (1612, rewritten 1625)
  • Of Wisdom for a Man's Self (1612, enlarged 1625)
  • Of Innovations (1625)
  • Of Dispatch (1612)
  • Of Seeming Wise (1612)
  • Of Friendship (1612, rewritten 1625)
  • Of Expense (1597, enlarged 1612, again 1625)
  • Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates (1612, enlarged 1625)
  • Of Regiment of Health (1597, enlarged 1612, again 1625)
  • Of Suspicion (1625)
  • Of Discourse (1597, slightly enlarged 1612, again 1625)
  • Of Plantations (1625)
  • Of Riches (1612, much enlarged 1625)
  • Of Prophecies (1625)
  • Of Ambition (1612, enlarged 1625)
  • Of Masques and Triumphs (1625)
  • Of Nature in Men (1612, enlarged 1625)
  • Of Custom and Education (1612, enlarged 1625)
  • Of Fortune (1612, slightly enlarged 1625)
  • Of Usury (1625)
  • Of Youth and Age (1612, slightly enlarged 1625)
  • Of Beauty (1612, slightly enlarged 1625)
  • Of Deformity (1612, somewhat altered 1625)
  • Of Building (1625)
  • Of Gardens (1625)
  • Of Negotiating (1597, enlarged 1612, very slightly altered 1625)
  • Of Followers and Friends (1597, slightly enlarged 1625)
  • Of Suitors (1597, enlarged 1625)
  • Of Studies (1597, enlarged 1625)
  • Of Faction (1597, much enlarged 1625)
  • Of Ceremonies and Respects (1597, enlarged 1625)
  • Of Praise (1612, enlarged 1625)
  • Of Vain Glory (1612)
  • Of Honour and Reputation (1597, omitted 1612, republished 1625)
  • Of Judicature (1612)
  • Of Anger (1625)
  • Of Vicissitude of Things (1625)
  • A Fragment of an Essay of Fame
  • Of the Colours of Good and Evil

Recent editions[edit]

  • Michael J. Hawkins (ed.) Essays (London: J. M. Dent, 1973). No. 1010 in Everyman's Library.
  • Michael Kiernan (ed.) The Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985). Vol. 15 of The Oxford Francis Bacon.
  • John Pitcher (ed.) The Essays (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985). In the Penguin Classics series.
  • Brian Vickers (ed.) The Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral (New York: Oxford University Press). In the Oxford World's Classics series.

See also[edit]

[edit]

External links[edit]

  1. ^Burch, Dinah (ed). "The Essays". The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Oxford Reference Online (Subscription service). Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  2. ^"Catalogue entry". Copac. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  3. ^Heard, Franklin Fiske. "Bacon's Essays, with annotations by Richard Whately and notes and a glossarial index". Making of America Books. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  4. ^Bacon, Francis (2000) [1985]. Kiernan, Michael, ed. The Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall. New York: Oxford University Press. p. xlix. ISBN 0198186738. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  5. ^Matthew, H. C. G.; Harrison, Brian, eds. (2004). The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 3. Oxford University Press. p. 142. 
  6. ^Ward, A. W.; Waller, A. R., eds. (1907–27). The Cambridge History of English and American Literature. Cambridge University Press. pp. 395–98. 
  7. ^Hallam, Henry (1854). Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries, Vol 2. Boston: Little, Brown. p. 514. 
  8. ^Simpson, John (1993). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs. Oxford University Press. p. 176. 
  9. ^The Oxford English Dictionary Vol 7. Oxford. 1989. p. 418. 
  10. ^Huxley, Aldous (1930). Jesting Pilate. London: Chatto and Windus. 
  11. ^Knowles, Elizabeth M., ed. (1999). The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Oxford University Press. pp. 42–44. 
  12. ^Markby, Thomas (1853). The Essays, or, Counsels, Civil and Moral; With a Table of the Colours of Good and Evil. London: Parker. pp. xi–xii. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 

Bacon's essay "Of Studies" is part of The Essayes or Counsels, Civil and Moral, of Francis Lord Verulam, Viscount St. Alban (London, 1625)

Bacon argues that studies "serve for Delight, for Ornament, and for Ability."  For delight, Bacon means one's personal, private education; for "Ornament," he means in conversation between and among others, which Bacon labels as "Discourse."  Studies for "Ability" lead one to judgment in business and related pursuits.  From Bacon's perspective, men with...

Bacon's essay "Of Studies" is part of The Essayes or Counsels, Civil and Moral, of Francis Lord Verulam, Viscount St. Alban (London, 1625)

Bacon argues that studies "serve for Delight, for Ornament, and for Ability."  For delight, Bacon means one's personal, private education; for "Ornament," he means in conversation between and among others, which Bacon labels as "Discourse."  Studies for "Ability" lead one to judgment in business and related pursuits.  From Bacon's perspective, men with worldly experience can carry out plans and understand particular circumstances, but men who study are better able to understand important political matters and know how to deal with problem according to their severity ("Marshalling of Affairs").

At the same time Bacon encourages studies, he warns that 1) too much studying leads to laziness; 2) if one uses one's knowledge too often in conversation with others, then one is showing off; and 3) to be guided solely by one's studies one becomes a scholar rather than a practical man.  Bacon's argument about the value of studies is that moderation is the key to using studies appropriately: studies are wonderful only if influenced by experience because a person's natural abilities are enhanced by studies, but studies without experience, lead to confusion in dealing with the outside world.

According to Bacon, dishonest men condemn education; stupid men admire education; but wise men use education as their real world experience dictates.  He warns the educated man not to use his education to argument unnecessarily with people; not to assume that education always leads to the correct behavior or understanding; not to use education merely to focus on conversation with others.  Rather, Bacon argues, education ("some Bookes") should be read but their advice ignored; other books, ignored completely; and a few books are to be "Chewed and Digested," that is,  understood perfectly and used to guide behavior.  In addition, Bacon advises that some books can be read by others, who take notes, and the notes can substitute for reading an entire book--but these books should not be those that cover important subjects.

Bacon returns to addressing the effects of reading, conversation, and writing: reading creates a well-rounded man; conversation makes a man think quickly; and writing, by which Bacon usually means argument essay writing, makes a man capable of thinking with logic and reason.  Further, Bacon argues, if a man doesn't write very much, he has to have a good memory to compensate for what he doesn't write; if he doesn't exercise the art of conversation, he needs to have a quick wit; and if he doesn't read very much, he has to be able "to fake it," to pretend that he knows more than he does.

History, Bacon argues, makes men wise; poetry, clever; mathematics, intellectually sharp; logic and rhetoric, skilled in argument.  Further, Bacon believes that there is no problem in thinking that cannot be fixed by the appropriate study--just as the right physical exercise cures physical illnesses.  Every disorder of the mind has a cure--for example, if a man cannot use one set of facts to prove the truth of an un-related set of facts, Bacon advises the study of law.

Every defect in thinking can be cured by another form of study.

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