All modern essay writing owes its beginnings to Sir Francis Bacon, who is also known as the father of the English essay. He created the formal essay using his own simple, yet complex style by proving a point. He was also the first writer to publish a collection of essays, which were so unique that its form became a genre in literature. Bacon’s influential works were vastly impacted by the tenets of the Renaissance period. Even Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of our nation, credited being influenced by Bacon’s essays (McDougal 454). Also titled “one of the three greatest men the world has ever known,” Francis Bacon wrote various prominent essays pertaining to philosophical research, natural science and social status (McDougal 454). Bacon significantly contributed to contemporary society by bringing about a lucid distinction between philosophy, science and religion. Ultimately, Bacon is a renowned Renaissance writer who introduced a new way of writing and thinking.
In 1597, Sir Francis Bacon made his first publication. He published a collection of essays (called Essayes: Religious Meditations. Places of Perswasion and Disswasion. Seene and Allowed) about politics, which was later expanded and republished in 1612 and 1625 (bio.com). His book contained the first examples of that literary form (essay) to gain popularity in England (McDougal 454). Inspired by the Renaissance notions of humanism, in 1605 Bacon published The Advancement of Learning attempting to rally supporters for the sciences. Also in 1609, he released his analysis of ancient mythology On the Wisdom of the Ancients (bio.com). Francis Bacon then went on to publishing a number of essays exhibiting his views on science, philosophy, politics, humanism, social class, and life itself.
An essay is a “relatively brief work of nonfiction that offers an opinion on a subject” (McDougal 455). Sir Francis Bacon’s purpose in writing was to persuade readers to accept his opinions. Bacon’s style was elegant, yet complex and formal (Simpson) His writing was highly structured and written in a serious, impersonal style. In fact, his writing achieves its clarity through its balanced tone, natural metaphors, and symmetries than through the use of plain words, common ideas, and direct sentence structure (Simpson). In order get his point across, Bacon inserted many aphorisms, a brief sentence or phrase that expresses an opinion or a statement, in his essays. For example in “Of Studies” Bacon explores the use and abuse of studies and advises readers to choose books that will make them think.
“They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience; for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth direction too much at large, except they be bounded in b experience” (Bacon).
“Although Bacon’s body of work covered a fairly broad range of topics, all of his writing shared one thing in common: It expressed Bacon’s desire to change...