Catalogue


Francis Bacon /
by Perez Zagorin.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1998.
description
xvi, 286 p. [11] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0691059284 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1998.
isbn
0691059284 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
1956320
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [229]-280) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"This is a masterly book which brings together the two major Bacons--the politician and the philosopher. . . .Impeccably researched, elegantly written, and comprehensive in scope, it is simply the best synthetic study of Bacon now available."-- Donald Kelley, Rutgers University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-11:
In profoundly different ways, these two books are the first significant studies to propose an answer to Lytton Strachey's query "Who has ever explained Francis Bacon?" Heretofore, an understanding of the incredible breadth of Bacon's life and thought was only available through varied but more focused philosophical and historical investigations. Zagorin (history, emeritus, Univ. of Rochester) and Solomon (American University) present comprehensive and balanced accounts of Bacon's reflective writings in science, morals, politics, law, history, religion, language, and myth. Both works acutely contrast Bacon's crafty and duplicitous attempts for political advancement with his original and formative intellectual proposals for scientific advancement. Whereas each provides an understanding of the whole range of his ideas, they do so by radically different methods. Zagorin carefully exposes the paradoxical nature of the man who incisively influenced the rise of modern science through a synthesis uniting politics and philosophy. His work is eminently readable, expansive in scope, and scintillating. On the other hand, Solomon boldly focuses on the sociocultural factors that shaped Bacon's thinking through a dialectical and dialogical analysis of the monarchy, the commercial marketplace, and Bacon's rhetorical displacement of what is real for what is royal. Her work presupposes that there are socioeconomic and cultural determinants of Bacon's formulation of scientific objectivity; it traces how his scientific program was shaped in large measure by his own struggle for political position in the Jacobean court. Solomon's work is a scholarly extension of the methods used within New Historicist studies. Zagorin's book is recommended for lower-division undergraduates through faculty, not only as an introduction to the full scope of Bacon's thought but also as a thoroughly researched, authoritative account. Solomon's book, for upper-division undergraduates through faculty, is recommended as a case study illustrating the power of using mirroring inflections of socioeconomic, ideological, and cultural factors to explain the life and work of such a paradoxical figure as Francis Bacon. L. C. Archie; Lander University
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1998-04-06:
Francis Bacon, one of the preeminent architects and prophets of the scientific revolution, is frequently acknowledged by philosophers and historians, says Zagorin, but he is almost as frequently misunderstood. This is not so much a biography as an attempt to portray the full range of his intellectual ambitions, which were nothing less than an often futuristic reworking of how humans should think about their natural and social environments. Drawing both on well-known published works such as Novum Organum and The Advancement of Learning as well as on lesser-known fragments, Zagorin (Rebels and Rulers, 1500-1660) attempts to reconstruct the thought and character of this true Renaissance man. Although he starts out with an extensive examination of Bacon's natural philosophy, he does not neglect Bacon's less celebrated investigations into jurisprudence or moral philosophy. In the public sphere, Bacon was, as Zagorin rather daintily puts it, "preeminently practical." In fact, Bacon, a fawning admirer of Machiavelli, took great pains to distance himself from his patron, the Earl of Essex, once the latter fell out of favor. It's not Bacon's finest moment and is sometimes skirted by biographers, but Zagorin generally treats Bacon's shortcomings with historical honesty. Even translated from the (usual) Latin, Bacon's works can still be difficult for modern readers. Unfortunately Zagorin's interpretation doesn't always help matters‘witness his translation of Instauratio Magna as The Great Instauration. Also while the book begins enthusiastically, some repetition and lack of focus slow the pace of the last few chapters. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
"[ Francis Bacon ] will be useful to scholars for its ability to organize and explain a large and sometimes unwieldy topic ... and, because of its lucidity and clear-sightedness, it will be of interest to the general reader."-- Charles Davis, Boston Book Review
One of Choice 's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1998
"Zagorin ... brings a lifetime of learning, as well as personal enthusiasm, to his presentation of Bacon's intellectual accomplishments. This is a book not just to taste, but to chew and digest."-- Washington Post
"A concise but detailed analysis of [Bacon's] whole range of thought.... This penetrating account of Bacon's work can be recommended as the best single-volume study available."-- Brian Vickers, The Times Literary Supplement
"[An] excellent new biography."-- Roger Kimball, The Wall Street Journal
"A sensitive and sympathetic analysis.... There is always a suspicion, when one reads such a fine-lettered stylist as Bacon, that the prose is glittering with too many nice turns and rhetorical tricks. Zagorin's homage shows the substance to be reassuringly there behind it all."-- Nigel Spivey, Financial Times
"Eminently readable, expansive in scope, and scintillating. . . . [A] thoroughly researched, authoritative account."-- Choice
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews, April 1998
Publishers Weekly, April 1998
Boston Book Review, July 1998
Choice, November 1998
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
Francis Bacon (1561DS1626), commonly regarded as one of the founders of the Scientific Revolution, exerted a powerful influence on the intellectual development of the modern world. He also led a remarkably varied and dramatic life as a philosopher, writer, lawyer, courtier, and statesman. Although there has been much recent scholarship on individual aspects of Bacon's career, Perez Zagorin's is the first work in many years to present a comprehensive account of the entire sweep of his thought and its enduring influence. Combining keen scholarly and psychological insights, Zagorin reveals Bacon as a man of genius, deep paradoxes, and pronounced flaws. The book begins by sketching Bacon's complex personality and troubled public career. Zagorin shows that, despite his idealistic philosophy and rare intellectual gifts, Bacon's political life was marked by continual careerism in his efforts to achieve advancement. He follows Bacon's rise at court and describes his removal from his office as England's highest judge for taking bribes. Zagorin then examines Bacon's philosophy and theory of science in connection with his project for the promotion of scientific progress, which he called The Great Instauration. He shows how Bacon's critical empiricism and attempt to develop a new method of discovery made a seminal contribution to the growth of science. He demonstrates Bacon's historic importance as a prophetic thinker, who, at the edge of the modern era, predicted that science would be used to prolong life, cure diseases, invent new materials, and create new weapons of destruction. Finally, the book examines Bacon's writings on such subjects as morals, politics, language, rhetoric, law, and history. Zagorin shows that Bacon was one of the great legal theorists of his day, an influential philosopher of language, and a penetrating historian. Clearly and beautifully written, the book brings out the richness, scope, and greatness of Bacon's work and draws together the many, colorful threads of an extraordinarily brilliant and many-sided mind.
Unpaid Annotation
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), commonly regarded as one of the founders of the Scientific Revolution, exerted a powerful influence on the intellectual development of the modern world. He also led a remarkably varied and dramatic life as a philosopher, writer, lawyer, courtier, and statesman. Although there has been much recent scholarship on individual aspects of Bacon's career, Perez Zagorin's is the first work in many years to present a comprehensive account of the entire sweep of his thought and its enduring influence. Combining keen scholarly and psychological insights, Zagorin reveals Bacon as a man of genius, deep paradoxes, and pronounced flaws.The book begins by sketching Bacon's complex personality and troubled public career. Zagorin shows that, despite his idealistic philosophy and rare intellectual gifts, Bacon's political life was marked by continual careerism in his efforts to achieve advancement. He follows Bacon's rise at court and describes his removal from his office as England's highest judge for taking bribes. Zagorin then examines Bacon's philosophy and theory of science in connection with his project for the promot
Main Description
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), commonly regarded as one of the founders of the Scientific Revolution, exerted a powerful influence on the intellectual development of the modern world. He also led a remarkably varied and dramatic life as a philosopher, writer, lawyer, courtier, and statesman. Although there has been much recent scholarship on individual aspects of Bacon's career, Perez Zagorin's is the first work in many years to present a comprehensive account of the entire sweep of his thought and its enduring influence. Combining keen scholarly and psychological insights, Zagorin reveals Bacon as a man of genius, deep paradoxes, and pronounced flaws.The book begins by sketching Bacon's complex personality and troubled public career. Zagorin shows that, despite his idealistic philosophy and rare intellectual gifts, Bacon's political life was marked by continual careerism in his efforts to achieve advancement. He follows Bacon's rise at court and describes his removal from his office as England's highest judge for taking bribes. Zagorin then examines Bacon's philosophy and theory of science in connection with his project for the promotion of scientific progress, which he called "The Great Instauration." He shows how Bacon's critical empiricism and attempt to develop a new method of discovery made a seminal contribution to the growth of science. He demonstrates Bacon's historic importance as a prophetic thinker, who, at the edge of the modern era, predicted that science would be used to prolong life, cure diseases, invent new materials, and create new weapons of destruction. Finally, the book examines Bacon's writings on such subjects as morals, politics, language, rhetoric, law, and history. Zagorin shows that Bacon was one of the great legal theorists of his day, an influential philosopher of language, and a penetrating historian.Clearly and beautifully written, the book brings out the richness, scope, and greatness of Bacon's work and draws together the many, colorful threads of an extraordinarily brilliant and many-sided mind.
Main Description
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), commonly regarded as one of the founders of the Scientific Revolution, exerted a powerful influence on the intellectual development of the modern world. He also led a remarkably varied and dramatic life as a philosopher, writer, lawyer, courtier, and statesman. Although there has been much recent scholarship on individual aspects of Bacon's career, Perez Zagorin's is the first work in many years to present a comprehensive account of the entire sweep of his thought and its enduring influence. Combining keen scholarly and psychological insights, Zagorin reveals Bacon as a man of genius, deep paradoxes, and pronounced flaws. The book begins by sketching Bacon's complex personality and troubled public career. Zagorin shows that, despite his idealistic philosophy and rare intellectual gifts, Bacon's political life was marked by continual careerism in his efforts to achieve advancement. He follows Bacon's rise at court and describes his removal from his office as England's highest judge for taking bribes. Zagorin then examines Bacon's philosophy and theory of science in connection with his project for the promotion of scientific progress, which he called "The Great Instauration." He shows how Bacon's critical empiricism and attempt to develop a new method of discovery made a seminal contribution to the growth of science. He demonstrates Bacon's historic importance as a prophetic thinker, who, at the edge of the modern era, predicted that science would be used to prolong life, cure diseases, invent new materials, and create new weapons of destruction. Finally, the book examines Bacon's writings on such subjects as morals, politics, language, rhetoric, law, and history. Zagorin shows that Bacon was one of the great legal theorists of his day, an influential philosopher of language, and a penetrating historian. Clearly and beautifully written, the book brings out the richness, scope, and greatness of Bacon's work and draws together the many, colorful threads of an extraordinarily brilliant and many-sided mind.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This work looks at the career of Francis Bacon, who predicted that science would be used to prolong life, cure diseases, and invent new materials. It also looks at his life as a philosopher, writer, lawyer, courtier and statesman.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
References and Abbreviationsp. xv
Introduction: Bacon's Two Livesp. 3
Philosophy and the Reconstruction of Knowledge: The Genesis of Bacon's Projectp. 25
The Great Instaurationp. 74
Human Philosophy: Morals and Politicsp. 129
Language, Law, and Historyp. 175
Conclusionp. 221
Notesp. 229
Indexp. 281
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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