Of Studies Essay By Bacon

Read this article to know about Of Studies by Francis Bacon Summary and Analysis.

Introduction

-Hira Azhar

The essay Of Studies by Sir Francis Bacon is the first essay in the series of ten essays published in 1597. Later, it was revised in 1612 with the addition of some more sentences and ideas in it along with the alteration in some vocabulary terms. This essay is regarded as Bacon’s masterpiece enriched with stylised Latin vocabulary, fresh and new ideas, logical and relevant themes and wisdom of the world. For these reasons, the essay is still popular among the individuals of all ages. Adopting a didactic approach, the essay informs the readers about the benefits and uses of studies in one’s life.

Of Studies by Francis Bacon Summary and Critical Analysis

Highlighting the importance of studies, Bacon’s essay illustrates the role studies play in an individual’s daily life. For Bacon, the study is always related to the application of knowledge in practical life. In the beginning of his essay, Bacon describes the three main purposes of study including studying for gaining delight, studies done for ornamenting one’s life and studying in order to improve one’s ability.

The author is the notion that only learned and well-read men can execute plans effectively, manage their daily affairs with expertise and lead a healthy and stable life. He further states that reading makes a full man; conference leads to a ready man while writing makes an exact man. While throwing light on the advantages and usefulness of studies, Bacon also puts forward some demerits of study as he thinks that studying for a prolonged period of time may lead to laziness.


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He also condemns the act of studying from books solely without learning from nature around. The essay Of Studies further asserts the benefits of studies by considering this act as a medicine for the defects of human mind and the source of enhancing one’s wit. While discussing the importance of studying in an individual’s life, the essayist informs his readers about the benefits of reading good books.

For Bacon, some books are only meant to be tasted; others are there to swallow while some books are meant for chewing and digesting properly. Therefore, the readers must choose wisely before studying any book to enhance his/her knowledge about the world around. Bacon concludes his essay by suggesting that studies assist an individual in removing the defects of his/her mind as every problem of the human mind carries special importance for the individual and the world.

Conclusion

Bacon’s essay Of Studies deals with the benefits of studies for the individuals in their daily lives. From reading books to writing papers, study plays a vital role in a man’s life making him learned, witty and experienced. The essay by Bacon is enriched with intellectual wisdom, pragmatic approach and practical knowledge; therefore, it is considered to be the most beneficial essay for the students and the young individuals. Although the essay is devoid of any emotions and colourful expressions, it is; nevertheless, a wonderful effort of teaching the readers about the importance of studying.

Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtle; natural philosophy deep; moral grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend. Abeunt studia in mores [Studies pass into and influence manners].

Filed Under: English LiteratureTagged With: Essay

Bacon's essay "Of Studies" is part of The Essayes or Counsels, Civil and Moral, of Francis Lord Verulam, Viscount St. Alban (London, 1625)

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...

Bacon's essay "Of Studies" is part of The Essayes or Counsels, Civil and Moral, of Francis Lord Verulam, Viscount St. Alban (London, 1625)

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 important political matters and know how to deal with problem according to their severity ("Marshalling of Affairs").

At the same time Bacon encourages studies, he warns that 1) too much studying leads to laziness; 2) if one uses one's knowledge too often in conversation with others, then one is showing off; and 3) to be guided solely by one's studies one becomes a scholar rather than a practical man.  Bacon's argument about the value of studies is that moderation is the key to using studies appropriately: studies are wonderful only if influenced by experience because a person's natural abilities are enhanced by studies, but studies without experience, lead to confusion in dealing with the outside world.

According to Bacon, dishonest men condemn education; stupid men admire education; but wise men use education as their real world experience dictates.  He warns the educated man not to use his education to argument unnecessarily with people; not to assume that education always leads to the correct behavior or understanding; not to use education merely to focus on conversation with others.  Rather, Bacon argues, education ("some Bookes") should be read but their advice ignored; other books, ignored completely; and a few books are to be "Chewed and Digested," that is,  understood perfectly and used to guide behavior.  In addition, Bacon advises that some books can be read by others, who take notes, and the notes can substitute for reading an entire book--but these books should not be those that cover important subjects.

Bacon returns to addressing the effects of reading, conversation, and writing: reading creates a well-rounded man; conversation makes a man think quickly; and writing, by which Bacon usually means argument essay writing, makes a man capable of thinking with logic and reason.  Further, Bacon argues, if a man doesn't write very much, he has to have a good memory to compensate for what he doesn't write; if he doesn't exercise the art of conversation, he needs to have a quick wit; and if he doesn't read very much, he has to be able "to fake it," to pretend that he knows more than he does.

History, Bacon argues, makes men wise; poetry, clever; mathematics, intellectually sharp; logic and rhetoric, skilled in argument.  Further, Bacon believes that there is no problem in thinking that cannot be fixed by the appropriate study--just as the right physical exercise cures physical illnesses.  Every disorder of the mind has a cure--for example, if a man cannot use one set of facts to prove the truth of an un-related set of facts, Bacon advises the study of law.

Every defect in thinking can be cured by another form of study.

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