’Books will speak plain’?
Colonialism, Jewishness and politics in Bacon’s New Atlantis
in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis

This chapter explores whether Francis Bacon argues in the New Atlantis for England's continued imperial growth and whether he advocates a policy of Christian toleration of Jews. It focuses on the ways the New Atlantis refuses to 'speak plain' through an examination of Bacon's contradictory representations of Jewishness. The New Atlantis displays different attitudes to colonialism according to the relative civilisation and scientific sophistication of the home nation. The chapter presents the social, political, and cultural contradictions of early seventeenth-century England reflected in the New Atlantis. Bacon explicitly appropriates Scriptural quotation associated with King Solomon when he describes King Solamona's 'large heart. The fact that the New Atlantis reproduces the social contradictions and tensions of the time means that Bacon was unable to formulate unequivocal policies concerning Christian toleration of Jews and colonial endeavour.

Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis

New interdisciplinary essays

Editor: Bronwen Price


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