The Essays Or Counsels, Civil and Moral

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Oxford University Press, 1999 - Philosophy - 216 pages
'their excellence and their value consisted in being the observations of a strong mind operating upon life; and in consequence you find what you seldom find in other books.' Samuel Johnson Celebrated today as a writer and scientist, Francis Bacon was for the most part of his life occupied with the law and public affairs at a high level. Although personally devastating, his fall from public office in 1621 nonetheless served to liberate him for his own work and the last five years ofhis life saw an enormous output in the most varied fields. It is to this period that we owe the last and most popular work published in his lifetime, the Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral (1625) Focusing on the ethical, political and historical constraints and influences on human behaviour andfollowing principles laid down by rhetorical theory, Bacon sought to systematize his observations on such diverse topics as beauty, deformity, fortune, adversity, ambition, friendship, truth, marriage, atheism and superstition. Persuasive and diagnostic, his Essays are valued for many reasons, notleast their combination of a dispassionate observation of human life with powerfully expressed moral judgements. This edition is based on the Oxford Authors series complete with notes on Bacon's rich vocabulary and substantial annotation.
 

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Contents

THE ESSAYS OR COUNSELS
3
Of Deformity
99
Essays 1597
134
From the Essays 1612
142
Explanatory Notes
156
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Brian Vickers is Professor of English Literature and Director of the Centre for Renaissance Studies at the ETH, Zurich.

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