The Essays Or Counsels, Civil and Moral

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Oxford University Press, 1999 - Philosophy - 216 pages
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`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 and following 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, not least 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 CIVIL AND MORAL 1625
3
OfDeath
5
Of Unity in Religion
6
Of Revenge
10
Of Adversity
11
Of Simulation and Dissimulation
12
Of Parents and Children
15
Of Marriage and Single Life
16
Of Plantations
78
Of Riches
80
Of Prophecies
83
Of Ambition
86
Of Masques and Triumphs
88
Of Nature in Men
89
Of Custom and Education
90
Of Fortune
92

OfEnvy
18
Of Love
22
n Of Great Place
23
Of Boldness
26
Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature
28
Of Nobility
30
Of Seditions and Troubles
31
Of Atheism
37
Of Superstition
39
OfTravel
41
OfEmpire
42
Of Counsel
46
Of Delays
50
Of Cunning
51
Of Wisdom for a Mans Self
54
Oflnnovations
55
Of Dispatch
56
Of Seeming Wise
58
Of Friendship
59
Of Expense
65
Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates
66
Of Regiment of Health
74
Of Suspicion
75
OfDiscourse
76
Of Usury
93
Of Youth and Age
96
Of Beauty
98
Of Deformity
99
Of Building
100
Of Gardens
104
Of Negotiating
109
Of Followers and Friends
110
Of Suitors
112
Of Studies
114
Of Faction
115
Of Ceremonies and Respects
116
OfPraise
118
Of VainGlory
119
Of Honour and Reputation
121
Of Judicature
122
Of Anger
126
Of Vicissitude of Things
127
A Fragment of an Essay on Fame
132
Essays 1597
134
From the Essays 1612
142
Explanatory Notes
156
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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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