New interdisciplinary essays
Editor: Bronwen Price

Francis Bacon produced his final draft of the New Atlantis around the years 1624-1625. Standing at the threshold of early modern thought, Bacon's text operates at the interstices of its contemporary culture and does indeed signal a desire to 'illuminate all the border-regions that confine upon the circle of our present knowledge'. This book presents a collection of essays that show how the New Atlantis negotiates a variety of contexts, namely literary, philosophical, political, religious and social, in order to achieve this. The narrative begins with a standard literary device. When Bacon wrote the New Atlantis, he clearly had More's Utopia in mind as a model. For all his strictures on the use of language for rhetorical effect, Francis Bacon was thoroughly grounded in the Renaissance art of rhetoric. He consciously drew on his rhetorical skill in his writings, adapting his style as occasion demanded. The New Atlantis is a text about natural philosophy which seems to offer connections at almost every point with moral and political philosophy. The book discusses two forms of natural knowledge that Bacon takes up and develops in the New Atlantis: natural magic, and medicine. The modern project is crucially dependent on two fundamental miracles: the miracle of creation and the miracle of divine revelation. The book also analyses Bacon's representations of colonialism and Jewishness in the New Atlantis has revealed. The New Atlantis raises questions concerning the relationship between censorship and knowledge.

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Baconian rhetoric and the New Atlantis

48 Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis 3 Persuasions to science: Baconian rhetoric and the New Atlantis SARAH HUTTON For all his strictures on the use of language for rhetorical effect, it is now well established that Francis Bacon was thoroughly grounded in the Renaissance art of rhetoric and that he consciously drew on his rhetorical skill in his writings, adapting his style as occasion demanded. The nature and extent of Bacon’s use of rhetoric has been extensively, though not exhaustively, explored.1 Gone are the days when Bacon was regarded as a dysfunctional

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis

60 Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis 4 Ethics and politics in the New Atlantis DAVID COLCLOUGH God forbid that we should give out a dream of our own imagination for a pattern of the world; rather may he graciously grant to us to write an apocalypse or true vision of the footsteps of the Creator imprinted on his creatures.1 I The New Atlantis is a text about natural philosophy which seems to offer connections at almost every point with moral and political philosophy. The celebrated description of Salomon’s House raises the question of the place of the scientist in

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis

82 Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis 5 Natural knowledge in the New Atlantis RICHARD SERJEANTSON The End of our Foundation is the knowledge of Causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of Human Empire, to the effecting of all things possible. And amongst them we have a water which we call Water of Paradise, being, by that we do to it, made very sovereign for health, and prolongation of life.1 Francis Bacon and early modern ‘science’ At the heart of Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis there is an institution for the systematic pursuit of

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
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Introduction 1 1 Introduction BRONWEN PRICE if a man could succeed … in kindling a light in nature – a light which should in its very rising touch and illuminate all the borderregions that confine upon the circle of our present knowledge; and so spreading further and further should presently disclose and bring into sight all that is hidden and secret in the world, – that man should be the benefactor indeed of the human race, – the propagator of man’s empire over the universe, the champion of liberty, the conqueror and subduer of necessities.1 Francis Bacon

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
Gender, sexual difference and knowledge in Bacon’s New Atlantis

156 Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis 8 ‘Strange things so probably told’: gender, sexual difference and knowledge in Bacon’s New Atlantis KATE AUGHTERSON I Let us establish a chaste and lawful marriage between mind and nature, with the divine mercy as bridewoman.1 I am come in very truth leading to you Nature with all her children to bind her to your service and make her your slave … so may I succeed in my only earthly wish, namely to stretch the deplorably narrow limits of man’s dominion over the universe to their promised bounds.2 The human mind in studying

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis

28 Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis 2 Narrative contexts for Bacon’s New Atlantis PAUL SALZMAN When Bacon wrote the New Atlantis, he clearly had More’s Utopia in mind as a model, offering a small homage to it in a comment made by the ‘good Jew’: ‘I have read in a book of one of your men, of a Feigned Commonwealth, where the married couple are permitted, before they contract, to see one another naked’.1 With great acuity, Susan Bruce has pointed out the significance of the family, and of desire, as a link between the two utopias.2 Bruce argues that in Bacon

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis

180 Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis 9 Censorship and the institution of knowledge in Bacon’s New Atlantis SIMON WORTHAM I Critical readers of Bacon’s New Atlantis have often drawn attention to the complex relationship between, on the one hand, the production and dissemination of enlightened scientific knowledge in Bensalem – and, indeed, the forms of social community for which it implicitly provides a model – and, on the other, the secret or concealed conditions of this very same process of production. For example, Robert K. Faulkner in Francis Bacon and the

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
Colonialism, Jewishness and politics in Bacon’s New Atlantis

Colonialism, Jewishness and politics 129 7 ‘Books will speak plain’? Colonialism, Jewishness and politics in Bacon’s New Atlantis CLAIRE JOWITT Francis Bacon’s Of Counsel (1625) asserts that ‘Books will speak plain when counsellors blanch.’1 In other words, a counsellor – even one like Bacon, languishing on the margins of political favour – will find it easier to offer advice to his prince through the medium of the written word. A counsellor can give better advice away from the intimidating presence of his monarch. Bacon’s statement in Of Counsel provides a

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis

106 Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis 6 On the miracles in Bacon’s New Atlantis JERRY WEINBERGER Bacon’s New Atlantis depicts the world to be produced by his famous project for modern science and technology and the consequent mastery of nature and ‘relief of man’s estate’. The sailors who come upon the island leave a world where they are buffeted by the destructive forces of nature – wind, calm, famine, and disease – and enter one where the weather is controlled, needs met, and sickness cured. The key element of Bensalemite history is the founding by King Solamona

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis