Sunday, January 23, 2011

Of Studies by Francis Bacon -- the Theme and Style of the Essay

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 The Advancement 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 

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,

sir I am a student of M.A English, kindly post critical analysis of bacon's essays. I have searched the blog but its not there.

Sumera zaidi

Ardhendu De said...

Dear Sumera zaidi ,
I have not written an overall evaluation of Bacon's Essays. However you can find out article on style, vision, rhetorical devices etc.

Anonymous said...

sir,
my name is Tania.sir I found your analysis very helpful and worth reading. It was a very detailed and to the point analysis.

Ardhendu De said...

Thanks Tania for your sweet words of inspiration.

Anonymous said...

sir,
my name is diksha and i am very much thankful to you for your analysis it is really helpful....thanks alot sir for your dis type of support...

Santanu Halder said...

Sir,i vividly waiting to get ur analysis on the following text
ON THE GULL'S ROAD BY WILLA CATHER
And
THE CACTUS BY O HENRY.

Ardhendu De said...

dear diksha
thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

Hi!

This is Jehu Christopher Cabel from Philippines.
Can I request you a lil favor please?
can you send me the whole poem of Francui Bacons' Of Studies?
this is my E-Mail please grant it...
jehu.cabel@yahoo.com
=))
TY...

Anonymous said...

Wow it was a great help for my exam
Thank you for posting such useful summary

salih said...

Hi
i study English Literature in Yemen thank you for this great work I hope to give me analysis about the man in black

Ardhendu De said...

thanks Salih for your comment.I will post on this topic soon as time permits.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the insight into Bacon's essay. It has been really helpful for the preparation of my exam!

Anonymous said...

bacon its too tough

Anonymous said...

bit confusing ...but still helpful

surabhi soni said...

Hello sir,
I am pursuing my M Phil in English. I found your notes very helpful and concrete. Thanks a lot for all notes.

Surabhi soni,
Ahmedabad.

sur.sny@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

hello sir,once again thank you.your this note is as useful as the former.this note is so easy to understand.

Kalyani GHOSH

Ardhendu De said...

surabhi soni & Kalyani GHOSH , Thanks both of you for your comments.

Anonymous said...

sir.. thanks... it really helped me a lot of ur summary/analysis.. again, do you have a file of understanding by design for 2nd year high school specifically afro-asian literature... john from philipines.

Anonymous said...

sirim astudent in al qouds open university and i cant find the essay "of studies" and i want to read it so please help me i have an exam on it

sHaBiR said...

Hello Sir,
i m doing my master from mardan university pakistan, i found your material very helpful in my studies, thank u for your cooperation.

Ardhendu De said...

Thanks Shabir

Poet at Heart said...

I'm a student of literature and I found your essay very helpful.I've a small correction to point out in one of the quotations- it's "They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants that need proyning by study”.

Ardhendu De said...

Thanks dear Poet at Heart for your comments and corrections.

Debolina said...

sir,i have a question.. what is his opinion about the realation between different defects of the mind and proper study?

divyanka said...

I'm student of B.A 1 year.I join it today .thanks for your cooperation.

zarghoona malik said...

Bacon's essays are logical but of love is too tough

mrinmoyee said...

cant this essay be downloaded as a document?? this piece of work is extrmly hlpful n will b grtful if this documnt is dwnloadble....how to dwnld it??

Ayush Kumar said...

Dear sir My name is Ayush Aryan I'm a student of B.A PART-2.Marwari college ranchi I found your summery & theme these are very helpful & worth reading it is really helped me.Thanks for your support.

MD GULAB KHAN said...

Hello sir, I am a student of CU, I need suggestion for paper 4 of part 2, please be kind enough to help me in this regard. Thanks in anticipation.

Ardhendu De said...

Dear Gulap, Here is a reading zone not a baldachin of cheap suggestions. Be a Good Samaritan and suggest some other topics.
thanks for your comment.

MD GULAB KHAN said...

Thanks indeed sir.
warm regards

Bilahari P B REGHU said...

Thank you,it was really helpful..

shanza nawaz said...

yeah its really helpful in simple understandable language....thanks sir 4 such guidance for Eng lit students

Ardhendu De said...

shanza, REGHU , GULAB KHAN, malik, mrinmoyee, Ayush ... thanks everybody for your comments.

Anonymous said...

HI SIR I AM TARUN RAI AND I WANT TO WRITE MA IN ENGLISH. PLEASE SIR SUGGEST ME HOW SHOULD I PREPARE AND WHERE I GET PROPER MATERIALS FOR IT.

PIYALI SARKAR said...

Sir,I am a student of literature and i want to give you my heartful thanks for your free notes.all of them are very helpful and i am looking forward for more enriched notes related to ssc and net/set.
piyali sarkar

Zia Urrehman Farooqi said...

Thanks so much Sir for uploading such helpful notes on the essay, I found it very fruitful for me during my 3rd semester of BS English.

Ardhendu De said...

Thanks Zia For Your comment and following my blog. Best wishes for coming days.

iskndr aed said...

thanks all lovers and readers of english literature i found very useful being a student kindly all english literature may if mind mail the related notes of enlish literature would be a thanking one .
alexander khan

RAHUL MAHATA said...

Sir, I am a student of 2nd yr and I found the note very helpful for me.If you enlight about the narrative technique of the short story "The Hungry Stones" by Rabindranath Tagore then I will be very grateful to you.

Ardhendu De said...

Dear Rahul, Follow this Link. I think, it would help you

Ardhendu De said...

http://ardhendude.blogspot.in/2011/01/hungry-stone-supernatural-story.html

RAHUL MAHATA said...

Thanks sir

mdosmanhossain said...

Dear sir ,
glad to get you as my online faculty of my under-graduation programme.

regards,
mdosmanhossain@student.presidency.edu.bd

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