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Francis Bacon's Two Styles, Explanation

Francis Bacon's Two Styles

Introduction - Bacon's fame as a writer depends most of all on the fact that he is the father of modem English prose. He evolved a prose style that proved for the first time that English could also be used to express the subtlities of thought, in clear and uninvolved sentences.

Difference in Earlier and Later Essays -Two Style

The critics have noticed that there is a marked difference between Bacon's earlier and later essays. Macaulay, by contrasting extracts from Of Studies (1597) and Of Adversing (1625) illustrates what he calls the two styles of Bacon. But it is rather questionable whether this difference could be attributed to the fact that Bacon had gained a maturity of mind and intellect. The explanation lies in the fact that Bacon's very conception of the essay underwent a change. The first collection of essays were mere skeletons of thought grouped crowd central themes with suitable titles. There was no attempt at polishing the style. When Bacon saw that his essays had gained an unexpected popularity. he thought it was worthwhile to spend some more time on them and make them more polished and richer. Thus, the later essays acquired flesh and blood. His conception of essay had developed.

Essays - Aphoristic and Epigrammatic

The language of Baconian essays is mostly simple, brief and clear with occasioned archaisms and latinisms. Certain words are used in their older meaning and so they are different from their modern usage. The style of Bacon remains for the main part' aphoristic, with the result that he is one of the most quotable of writers. There is a terseness of expression, and an epigrammatic brevity. in the essays of Bacon, his sentences are brief and rapid, but they are also forceful "They come down like the strokes of a hammer, says Dean Church.

"Studies serve for delight, ornament, and for ability"

Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and reading an exact man. Bacon has a remarkable power of compressing into a few words an idea which other writers may express in several sentences. There are a number of sentences which are read like proverbs:

"A lie faces God and shrinks from man (Of Truth)"

"The rising unto place is laborious, and by pains men come to greater pains' (Of Great Place)"

Antithesis - Bacon had an encyclopaedic range of mind. He had taken all knowledge to be his province. He was an empirical scientist and thus, his eyes was trained for observation. Whenever he makes an observation, he qualifies it's almost in the next breath to avoid it from being an exaggeration. In the essay 'Of Truth" and "Of Revenge" we get gems of such pronouncements.

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