BACON AS A PROSE STYLIST
It has been observed by a critic that,
“The quality of strength in bacon’s style is intellectual rather than emotional”
Indeed the secret of Bacon’s strength lies in his shortness. Hardly any writer, ancient or modern, has succeeded in compressing so much meaning within so short a compass; several of essays- e.g. “those on studies and negotiating”- are marvels of condensation. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Bacon’s style is that no one can stay indifferent to it. In other words, as a prose writer, he has either ardent admirers or passionate detractors. And, it is interesting to note that both these extreme positions are occasioned by the very same properties of his style. Bacon ushered in the modern era ofwriting English prose. F.G Selby says that, “The part of Bacon’s influence is of course due to the charm of his style”
To be sure, there is a marked difference in the style of his earlier essays and that of his later ones. But, the important fact is that the difference is one of approach and not one of technique. In the beginning, Bacon thought the essay to be nothing more than a diary of “dispersed meditations”. Therefore, the earlier essays are terse and pithy jottings of his observations on domestic, political, intellectual, moral, religious and social issue. As a result, the discerning reader can see that these essays are mere skeletons of thought grouped around a single theme. “Of Studies” belongs to this category. In this essay, we see how Bacon has a quick, chatty way of writing---almost as if he were talking to himself: “Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them”
It must be noted that the same aphoristic character of the diction is to be found in his later essays. The difference is that, with the passage of time, Bacon toned the rapier-sharp rhythm of his sentences. This is because he perceived that his rapidly growing reading public was made up of people having varying reading...
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