Top-Rated Free Essay

Bacon OfStudies

Better Essays
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was born in London to parents who were members of the court of Queen Elizabeth I. He attended Trinity College, entered the practice of law in his late teens, and became a member of the House of Commons at the age of 23. His career flourished under King James I, but later scandals ended his life as a politician.
A philosopher/scientist by nature and one of the most admired thinkers of his day,
Bacon was a founder of the modern empirical tradition based on closely observing the physical world, conducting controlled experiments, and interpreting the results rationally to discover the workings of the universe. Of his many published works, he is best remembered for his Essays (collected from 1597 until after his death), brief meditations noted for their wit and insight.

Francis Bacon
“Of Studies
In his classic essay, “Of Studies,” Francis Bacon explains how and why study—knowledge—is important. Along with Michel de Montaigne, who published his first essays less than twenty years before Francis Bacon published his first collection in
1597. Bacon is considered the father of the English essay (with Montaigne the father of the French essay). Bacon’s essays differ from Montaigne’s in being more compact and more formal. Where Montaigne conceived of the essays as an opportunity to explore a subject through mental association and a casual ramble of the mind, Bacon envisioned the essay as an opportunity to offer advice. The title of his essay collection: “Essays or
Counsels: Civil and Moral,” suggests that didactic intent.
In “Of Studies,” Bacon lays out the value of knowledge in practical terms.
Bacon considers to what use studies might be put. He is less interested in their theoretical promise than in their practical utility—a proclivity more English, perhaps, than French. Bacon’s writing in “Of Studies” is direct and pointed. It avoids the meandering find-your-way free form of Montaigne’s essays. From his opening sentence
Bacon gets directly to the point: “Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability.” He then elaborates on how studies are useful in these three ways. And he wastes no words in detailing the use of “studies” for a Renaissance gentleman.
One of the attractions of Bacon’s essay is his skillful use of parallel sentence structure, as exemplified in the opening sentence and throughout “Of Studies.” This stylistic technique lends clarity and order to the writing, as in “crafty men condemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them,” which in its straightforward assertiveness exhibits confidence and elegance in addition to clarity and emphasis.

Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight, is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse;

and for ability, is in the judgment, and disposition of business. For expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best, from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humor of a scholar. They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning, by study; and studies themselves, do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books, else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. And therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit: and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know, that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtle; natural philosophy deep; moral grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend. Abeunt studia in mores.
Nay, there is no stond or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies; like as diseases of the body, may have appropriate exercises. Bowling is good for the stone and reins; shooting for the lungs and breast; gentle walking for the stomach; riding for the head; and the like. So if a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again. If his wit be not apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the Schoolmen; for they are cumini sectores.
If he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call up one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers' cases. So every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Satisfactory Essays

    bacon

    • 520 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Alex Swanger Thought Provokers 2. What caused Bacon’s Rebellion? Were the Baconites justified in revolting? In what ways did their rebellion foreshadow the American Revolutionary War? Bacon’s Rebellion was a result of many different factors. It started with the fact that land was becoming scarce in Virginia because much of it was owned by the rich tidewater planters. When an indentured servant was freed, he was usually given freedom dues by his master, which usually included a small plot…

    • 520 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    FRANCIS BACON

    • 514 Words
    • 2 Pages

    FRANCIS BACON “OF STUDIES” 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…

    • 514 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Bacons Rebellion

    • 974 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Bacons Rebellion was the first stirring of the revolutionary sentiment in America. It began in Jamestown Virginia in 1676. It was a short rebellion between two stubborn men wanting all the power in the world, or just Jamestown. Due to economics, environmental, and social struggles the rebellion got further out of hand than it should have and did not really solve much, other than a few issues. Bacons rebellion was not truly a fight against tyranny but a dispute between two stubborn selfish leaders…

    • 974 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Bacon Rebellion

    • 274 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Bacon's Rebellion was an armed rebellion in 1676 by Virginia settlers led by young Nathaniel Bacon against the rule of Governor William Berkeley. The colony's lightly organized frontier political culture combined with accumulating grievances, especially regarding Indian attacks, to motivate a popular uprising against Berkeley. He had failed to address the demands of the colonists regarding their safety. The rebellion was first suppressed by a few armed merchant ships from London whose captains sided…

    • 274 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    bacons rebellion

    • 280 Words
    • 2 Pages

    1. Governor Berkeley was a veteran of the English Civil Wars, a king’s favorite in his first term of governor, and a playwright and scholar. Berkeley’s cousin by marriage, Nathaniel Bacon, was a troublemaker. He was sent to Virginia to “mature”. 2. The declining tobacco prices, growing commercial competition from Maryland and the Carolinas, were a few of the economic issues rising during the revolution at the time. 3. Some Indians were killed in the raid, which began from a nonpayment of some…

    • 280 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Francis Bacon

    • 1159 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Francis Bacon was born on January 22, 1561 in London, England. Bacon served as attorney general and Lord Chancellor of England, resigning amid charges of corruption. His more valuable work was philosophical. Bacon took up Aristotelian ideas, arguing for an empirical, inductive approach, known as the scientific method, which is the foundation of modern scientific inquiry. Writing Career During his career as counsel and statesman, Bacon often wrote for the court. In 1584, he wrote his first political…

    • 1159 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Best Essays

    Nathaniel Bacon

    • 2054 Words
    • 9 Pages

    Nathaniel Bacon was a pivotal character in the building of the nation in its early years and it will be discussed here. Bacon was not born in the US but after coming to the land of America he was pivotal in a rebellion that was against the treatment of Native Americans by William Berkeley. Bacon believed that Berkeley was treating these hostile people in a way that was not beneficial to the colony. Bacon did not live a long life but he obviously had an impact on the people of his time. Bacon had a significant…

    • 2054 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Better Essays

    Francis Bacon

    • 1298 Words
    • 6 Pages

    The Life of Francis Bacon Francis Bacon was born in London in 1561 and died 1626. He ended up being a great philosopher, an author, and the inventor of the inductive method, also known for advancing the scientific method. He was the second son of Sir Nicholas Bacon and Lady Anne Cooke Bacon. Lady Anne was the second wife of Sir Nicholas. Sir Nicholas was also the Lord Keeper of the Seal at the time, which is a job that would eventually be held by his son, Francis Bacon. Bacon started going to Trinity…

    • 1298 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Francis Bacon

    • 654 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St. Alban,[1][a] Kt., KC (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator and author. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. After his death, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific method during the scientific revolution. Bacon has been called the creator of empiricism.[2] His works established and popularized…

    • 654 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Bacon Essay

    • 629 Words
    • 3 Pages

    “Of Studies” by Francis Bacon An analysis The purpose of this work is to analyze Sixteen Century Francis Bacon’s essay “Of Studies” by summarizing its main points and the relevance of its statements to this day. Francis Bacon was an English Philosopher and writer best known as a founder of the modern empirical tradition based on the rational analysis of data obtained by observation and experimentation of the physical world. The main focus of Bacon’s essay rests on explaining to the reader the…

    • 629 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays