Sarah Hutton
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Persuasions to science
Baconian rhetoric and the New Atlantis
in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis

The New Atlantis is hardly a hieroglyph of the new learning, but it can be described as 'parabolical wisdom' that gives us a glimpse of the Baconian scientific method in action. This chapter argues that the New Atlantis is less an epitome of Francis Bacon's ideas than a means of persuading others to support his projected reform of scientific endeavour. The rhetoric of the New Atlantis bespeaks the political circumstances of its creation. In The Advancement of Learning Bacon himself notes the importance of amassing 'stuff and variety', or 'that which Cicero calleth sylva and supellex', which logic and rhetoric will 'set forth and dispose'. It was William Rawley who set the mould for regarding the New Atlantis as a blueprint for his scientific programme. In contrast to the haphazard 'unmethodzed' appearance of Sylva Sylvarum, the New Atlantis gives the impression of being a highly controlled piece of writing.

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Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis

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