Francis Bacon and the SeventeenthCentury Intellectual Discourse Anthony J. Funari
francis bacon and the seventeenth-century intellectual discourse Copyright © Anthony J. Funari, 2011. All rights reserved. All quotations from John Donne’s poetry come from The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose of John Donne, ed. Charles M. Coffin (New York, NY: Modern Library, 2001). All quotations from John Wilmot’s poetry come from The Complete Poems of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, ed. David M. Vieth (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1962). All quotations from Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum come from Novum Organum with Other Parts of The Great Instauration, ed. Peter Urbach and John Gibson (Chicago, IL: Open Court, 1994). First published in 2011 by PALGRAVE MACMILLAN® in the United States— a division of St. Martin’s Press LLC, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010 Where this book is distributed in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world, this is by Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited, registered in England, company number 785998, of Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS. Palgrave Macmillan is the global academic imprint of the above companies and has companies and representatives throughout the world. Palgrave® and Macmillan® are registered trademarks in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and other countries. ISBN: 978-0-230-11684-9 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Funari, Anthony J. Francis Bacon and the seventeenth-century intellectual discourse / by Anthony J. Funari. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978–0-230–11684–9 1. English poetry—Early modern, 1500–1700—History and criticism. 2. Nature in literature. 3. Bacon, Francis, 1561–1626—Influence. 4. Donne, John, 1572– 1631—Criticism and interpretation. 5. Marvell, Andrew, 1621–1678—Criticism and interpretation. 6. Rochester, John Wilmot, Earl of, 1647–1680—Criticism and interpretation. 7. Empiricism in literature. 8. Literature and science—England— History—17th century. 9. England—Intellectual life—17th century. I. Title. PR545.N3F86 2011 821'.409—dc22 Design by Scribe Inc. First edition: September 2011 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
For my father, John, my mother, Jane, and my wife, Kim.
Preface Acknowledgments Introduction 1 2 3 4 An Inheritance Recovered Nature’s Confession: Baconian and Anti-Baconian Narratives in Donne’s Devotions “Companions of My Thoughts More Green”: Damon’s Baconian Sexing of Nature A “Fantastic Mind” and a “Fix’d Heart”: Rochester and the Disciplining of the Mind ix xi 1 17 39 61 87 113 129 159 171
Conclusion: Promethean and Postscientific Narratives Notes Bibliography Index
Many of the ideas for this book have morphed and evolved, been reconsidered, revised, and rewritten over the past four years. While preparing my dissertation proposal, I originally thought to examine how Francis Bacon’s call to cleanse the mind of its “idols” to establish a “dry light” frustrated the project of metaphysical poetry. Through the insightful guidance of my peers and mentors at Lehigh University, the best of whom I could not distinguish between, I came to see the central tension in the narratives that emerged when reading the scientific treatises of Bacon against the poetry of John Donne, Andrew Marvell, and John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester. In essence that is the focus of this book—the narratives that inform how we conceptualize our relationship to the natural world. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Bacon wrote about humanity’s recovering a lost inheritance. By adopting an empirical, inductive engagement with the natural world, humanity, Bacon envisioned, could restore the dominance over Nature that Adam once possessed. Humanity would again become the prevailing character in its environmental story. Against Bacon’s tale of scientific advancement and...