Evaluate The Epigrammatic Style Of Bacon Essays

Of Studies is the first essay of the first collection of ten essays of Francis Bacon which was published in 1597. But it was revised for the edition of 1612. More than dozen new sentences were added and some words were also altered. Of Studies is typically Baconian essay with an astonishing terseness, freshness of illustrations, logical analysis, highly Latinized vocabulary, worldly wisdom and Renaissance enlightenment.
Bacon through a syllogistic tripartite statement begins his argument to validate the usefulness and advantage of study in our life. Bacon has the power of compressing into a few words a great body of thought. Thus he puts forward the three basic purposes of studies: “Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability”. He later expands his sentence to bring lucidity and clearness. Studies fill us delight and aesthetic pleasure when we remain private and solitary. While we discourse, our studies add decoration to our speech. Further, the men of study can decide best on the right lines in business and politics. Bacon deprecates too much studies and the scholar’s habit to make his judgment from his reading instead of using his independent views.

Bacon is a consummate artist of Renaissance spirit. Thus he knows the expanse of knowledge and utility of studies. He advocates a scientific enquiry of studies. Through an exquisite metaphor drawn from Botany he compares human mind to a growing plant. As the growing plants need to be pruned and watered and manured for optimum development, the new growing conscience of us are to be tutored, mounded, oriented and devised by studies. But it is experience which ultimately matures our perception and leads us to perfection:

            “They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience:  for natural abilities are like natural plants that need proyning by study”.

Next Bacon considers what persons despise studies and what people praise them and what people make practical use of them. The crafty men condemn studies; simple men admire them while the wise men make ultimate use of it. But it should be remembered that the inquisitive mind and keen observation cultivate the real wisdom. Bacon advises his readers to apply studies to ‘weigh and consider’ rather than useless contradictions and grandiloquence.

In The Advancement of Learning Bacon makes systematic classifications of studies and considers different modes to be employed with different kinds of books: “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested”.

The books according to its value and utility are to be devised into various modes of articulations. The worthy classical pragmatic sort are to be adorned by expertise reading with diligence while the meaner sort of books or less important books are to be read in summary or by deputy. Again the global span of knowledge is revealed in his analysis of various subjects and their beneficent categories. The scholarly mind of Bacon here makes the subtle observation:

            “Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtle; natural philosophy deep; moral grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend”.

Studies do not shape a perfect man without the needed conference and writing. “And therefore if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth’ not”. Bacon further tells us that our studies pass into our character (Abeunt studia in mores). Rightly so the constitution of our moral disposition is the outcome of our learning and experience.

Every defect of the mind, Bacon says, may be cured by a proper choice of reading. Bacon here draws a parallel between the physical exercise and intellectual exercise. As different games, sports, exercises beget growth and development, the different branches of studies cures the in capability of logic, wondering of wit, lack of distinguish etc. Bacon emphatically concludes that every defect of the mind may have a special receipt and remedial assurance.

Of Studies contains almost all the techniques of Bacon’s essay writing and the world of his mind. It is full of wisdom, teachings and didacticism. In style, the essay is epigrammatic proverbial form, of balance and force. It is full of warmth and colour, profound wit and knowledge, experience and observation.


Hi Friends!

 To get a better view of the essay Of Studies I will suggest you to read his important books like TheAdvancement of Learning, New Atlantis or Novum Organum.In all these works Bacon's philosophic mind suggests some pragmatic guidelines for life and its management.

Again remember it that  Of Studies is adapted from his Essays which is given its subtitle  'The Counsel, Civil and Moral'--- hints thus to pragmatic advice of better way of life.

    Ardhendu De 


ity. Bacon excels in this kind of writing. Indeed, his essaysare full of aphorism. Any number of examples, from his essays to illustrate this style of writing, is as under:Take the essay, Of Truth. There are number of aphoristic sentences in this essay. Forexample, “A mixture of lie doth ever add pleasure.” Here Bacon wants to convey the idea thatthe statement of a truth becomes more attractive when mixed with a lie in it. Thus, wheneverwe want to defend a lie, we would quote his sentence from Bacon. “But it is not the lie thatpasseth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in and settleth in it, that doth the hurt.”Here wishes to convey the idea that a lie ,that settles down in the mind causes much harmbecause such a lie will keep working upon the mind and will have long-term effect. A lie thatone hears and forgets will not cause any injury to a man.“Certainly it is heaven upon earth to have a man’s mind move in charity, rest inprovidence and turn upon the poles of truth.” Here Bacon conveys a valuable moral by theuse of the minimum possible number of words.The essay, Of Marriage and Single Life, shows the aphoristic quality of Bacon’s style ina more striking manner. Here are some of the sentences that are eminently quotable.“He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune.” Bacon has expressedthe idea here most effectively and memorably.“Unmarried men are best friends, best masters, best servants but not always bestsubjects.” This is an excellent summing up of the case.“Wives are young men’s mistresses, companions of the middle aged and old men’snurses.” Here aphorism combines wisdom with it.All the sentences quoted above are excellent examples of Bacon’s terse andepigrammatic style. Here are few pithy sentences of the essay, Of Friendship:“For a crowd is not company and faces are but a gallery of pictures.”“Those that want friends to open themselves unto are cannibals of their hearts.”“For there is no man that imparteth his joy to his friend, but he joyeth the more: andno man that imparteth his grief to his friend, but he grieveth the less.”

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