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The Essayes Or Counsels, Civill And Morall
by Francis Bacon
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`an important book, graced by meticulous editorial work and a thorough introduction.' Heather Dubrow, Studies in English Literature 1500-1900
`It is nearly a century since the last substantial edition of the Essays was produced: Kiernan's thus incorporates and adds to a great increment of knowledge and understanding, while presenting the first real critical text. The gap was large: the completeness with which it has been filled justifies the long wait. No one seriously interested in the Essays can do without the Oxford edition.' Robin Robbins, TLS 6/3/87
`A surely definitive edition of Bacon's essays by Michael Kiernan ... the editing and presentation are faultless.' Bernard Levin, Sunday Times, 12/7/87
`Michael Kiernan has outclassed all previous editions; indeed, no work by Bacon has ever had such care lavished on it ... This edition provides the reader with more than he could ever have expected ... Professor Kiernan is to be congratulated for producing an edition which sets new standards in Bacon scholarship' Brian Vickers, Modern Language Review 83 (1988)
Bacon's essays reflect the experience and wide reading of a Renaissance man - philosopher, historian, judge, politician, adviser to the Prince - above all, astute observer of human nature. With uncompromising candour, he exposes man as he is, not as he ought to be, examining such givens of Renaissance power as negotiating for position, expediting a personal suit, speaking effectively, and the role of dissimulation in social and political situations. He scrutinizes judicial prerogatives and probes the causes and dangers of atheism and superstition. Even such topics as boldness or love or deformity have a practical bent. In Bacon's own phrase, these essays 'come home to Mens Businesse and Bosomes.' It is especially through their matchless style that they come homeDSwith imaginative vigour, concrete language, and the colloquial force of individual sentences. An introduction places the essays in their original context, examines their evolution over Bacon's lifetime, and elucidates their form and prose style; a commentary examines his sources and relates essays to his other writings; a glossary and index are also included.
About the Author
Michael Kiernan is Associate Professor of English, Pennsylvania State University.
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