What is Bacon's prose style regarding his essays?

The style of Bacon's prose in his essays is generally aphoristic, direct, and brief, all of which emphasize the practicality of his writing and encourage active reader participation. 

 

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

If brevity is the soul of wit, Bacon's essays reflect that style. Bacon's writing is direct and to the point, the kind of plain prose his role model in essay writing, Montaigne, excelled at. For example, in his essay "On Truth," Bacon writes in direct terms, "A mixture of a lie doeth ever add pleasure," meaning that will like our truths softened by untruths. Likewise, in "Of Studies," he is similarly direct, writing the following:

Crafty men condemn studies; simple men admire them; and wise men use them.

These sentences have the feel of aphorisms, pithy, and memorable truths stated in a just a few words. 

Bacon's style is also systematic, moving logically from point to point. He is considered one of the early empiricists, basing his ideas on observation from real life, not received truths. In his essay, "Of Love," for example, he is methodical, moving from a comparison of love as depicted on stage to what love is like in real life, then categorizing good and bad kinds of love.

Finally, Bacon's essays mix the Greek and Latin phrases an educated person would be familiar with alongside homey images of every day life, such as comparing natural abilities to plants, rendering his essays accessible to both highly and moderately educated people of his time.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial