The Essays

Francis Bacon - Author

John Pitcher - Editor

John Pitcher - Introduction by

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ISBN 9780140432169 | 288 pages | 07 Jan 1986 | Penguin Classics | 5.07 x 7.79in | 18 - AND UP
Summary of The Essays Summary of The Essays Reviews for The Essays An Excerpt from The Essays
The genius of Francis Bacon is nowhere better revealed than in his essays.

Bacon’s education was grounded in the classical texts of ancient Greece and Rome, but he brought vividness and colour to the arid scholasticism of medieval book-learning. Whatever their subject, whether it is something as personal as ‘Friendship’ or as abstract as ‘Truth’, the essays combine a mixture of rhetoric and philosophy; and are perhaps the most complete and rounded examples of Bacon’s literary style. Rather than merely summarizing popular philosophy or producing glib expositions of correct conduct, Bacon attempted to change the shape of other men’s minds. He believed that rhetoric, as the force of eloquence and persuasion, could incline the mind towards the pure light of reason.

Principal Dates in Bacon's Life
A Note on the Text and Annotation
Further Reading



The Essays: Fragments, Versions and Parallels
1. Writing the Essays
2. Counsels for the Prince
3. The Wisdom of the Ancients
4. Idols of the Mind
5. A Poetical Essay