Essays (Francis Bacon)

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1696 title page Bacon Essays 1696.jpg
1696 title page

Essayes: Religious Meditations. Places of Perswasion and Disswasion. Seene and Allowed (1597) was the first published book by the philosopher, statesman and jurist Francis 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]

Philosopher person with an extensive knowledge of philosophy

A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term "philosopher" comes from the Ancient Greek, φιλόσοφος (philosophos), meaning "lover of wisdom". The coining of the term has been attributed to the Greek thinker Pythagoras.

A public figure is a person, such as a politician, celebrity, social media personality, or business leader, who has a certain social position within a certain scope and a significant influence and so is often widely concerned by the public, can benefit enormously from society, and is closely related to public interests in society.

Jurist Legal scholar or academic, a professional who studies, teaches, and develops law

A jurist is someone who researches and studies jurisprudence. Such a person can work as an academic, legal writer or law lecturer. In the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and in many other Commonwealth countries, the word jurist sometimes refers to a barrister, whereas in the United States of America and Canada it often refers to a judge.

Contents

Critical reception

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]

Michel de Montaigne French-Occitan author, humanistic philosopher, statesman

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Lord of Montaigne was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. His work is noted for its merging of casual anecdotes and autobiography with intellectual insight. His massive volume, Essais, contains some of the most influential essays ever written.

Aristotle philosopher in ancient Greece

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, the founder of the Lyceum and the Peripatetic school of philosophy and Aristotelian tradition. Along with his teacher Plato, he has been called the "Father of Western Philosophy". His writings cover many subjects – including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics and government. Aristotle provided a complex synthesis of the various philosophies existing prior to him, and it was above all from his teachings that the West inherited its intellectual lexicon, as well as problems and methods of inquiry. As a result, his philosophy has exerted a unique influence on almost every form of knowledge in the West and it continues to be a subject of contemporary philosophical discussion.

Henry Hallam English historian

Henry Hallam was an English historian. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, he practised as a barrister on the Oxford circuit for some years before turning to history. His major works were View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages (1818), The Constitutional History of England (1827), and Introduction to the Literature of Europe, in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (1837). Although he took no part in politics himself, he was well acquainted with the band of authors and politicians who led the Whig party. In an 1828 review of Constitutional History, Robert Southey claimed that the work was biased in favour of the Whigs.

Aphorisms

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]

Aldous Huxley English writer and philosopher (1894-1963)

Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and philosopher. He authored nearly fifty books—both novels and non-fiction works—as well as wide-ranging essays, narratives, and poems.

Pontius Pilate was the fifth Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, from AD 26–36

Pontius Pilate was the fifth prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, serving under Emperor Tiberius from AD 26/27 to 36/37. He is known for adjudicating on the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, first published by the Oxford University Press in 1941, is an 1100-page book listing short quotations that are common in English language and culture.

Contents listing

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

Recent editions

Everymans Library Reprint series of Random House

Everyman's Library is a series of reprints of classic literature, primarily from the Western canon. It is currently published in hardback by Random House. It was originally an imprint of J. M. Dent, who continue to publish Everyman Paperbacks.

Penguin Classics imprint of Penguin Random House

Penguin Classics is an imprint of Penguin Books under which classic works of literature are published in English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, and Korean among other languages. Literary critics see books in this series as important members of the Western canon, though many titles are translated or of non-Western origin; indeed, the series for decades from its creation included only translations, until it eventually incorporated the Penguin English Library imprint in 1986. The first Penguin Classic was E. V. Rieu's translation of The Odyssey, published in 1946, and Rieu went on to become general editor of the series. Rieu sought out literary novelists such as Robert Graves and Dorothy Sayers as translators, believing they would avoid "the archaic flavour and the foreign idiom that renders many existing translations repellent to modern taste."

Oxford Worlds Classics

Oxford World's Classics is an imprint of Oxford University Press. First established in 1901 by Grant Richards and purchased by the Oxford University Press in 1906, this imprint publishes primarily dramatic and classic literature for students and the general public. Its competitors include Penguin Classics, Everyman's Library, and the Modern Library. Most titles include critical apparatus – usually, an introduction, bibliography, chronology, and explanatory notes – as is the case with Penguin Classics.

See also

Footnotes

  1. Burch, Dinah (ed). "The Essays". The Oxford Companion to English Literature . Oxford Reference Online (Subscription service). Retrieved 12 May 2012.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  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.

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