Of Studies is the masterpiece essay nicely written by Francis Bacon. This essay is one of the most attractive essays, which was written on the behalf of Study. In the essay Of Studies, the writer Francis Bacon describes the importance of studies in human life. The essay Of Studies is the first essay in a series of ten essays published in 1597. The title of this essay collection is Essays or Counsels: Civil and Moral. In this essay, the writer has highlighted the importance of reading, writing, and learning in One’s life with experience, reinforcing the three purposes of studies – for delight, for ornament, and for ability.
Francis Bacon is popularly known as an eminent essayist, thinker, scholar, and philosopher. He belongs to the Elizabethan age. So far as Francis Bacon is concerned, he was one of the greatest men of Literature and is popularly known as the Father of English Essays. Being the essayist of the Elizabethan age, he wrote a galaxy of essays on different issues. His world-famous essay is – Of Studies, Of Love, Of Friendship, Of Hatred, Of Death, Of Truth, Of Philosophy, Of Beauty, Of Ambition, and Of Custom and Education.
Analysis of “Of Studies”
The writer begins this essay by enlisting three purposes of studies which are as follows:
- Studies for delight: Studies for gaining delight or happiness in one’s life.
- Studies for ability: Studies for improving one’s ability in life.
- Studies for Ornament: Studies for ornamenting one’s life.
The first use of studies is that they serve for delight or pleasure. This delight can be found in solitude or leisure after retirement from active life. Secondly, studies serve as an ornament in communication, conversation, and discourse. An educated person talks more attractively than an illiterate person. The third help in decision-making or judgment and disposition of business.
However, the studies have their own limitation. If too much time, is spent on studies, it is nothing but laziness. If these are used excessively in conversation, they tend to exaggerate and pose a person and if a scholar makes every decision of his life with his knowledge then it is foolish and humorous behavior of the scholar.
According to Bacon “Crafty men condemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them.”
Men who are hardworking or primitive men hate or condemn studies. However, men with simple intellect admire them. Moreover, intelligent men use them practically. Studies do not teach their own uses. It is the wisdom of a person that teaches him to use them. The author says:
“Some books are to be tasted others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”
There are some books which have to be read – only in parts because they are useful to a person only in a certain place. It is not proper to read them word by word. On the contrary. Some books should not be read out of curiosity and some must be read with full attention and diligence as they require the full attention of the reader. Moreover, there are hidden treasures in this category of books that can only be found through the diligence of the reader.
Bacon says a useful line in favor of reading, and according to him, “Reading maketh a Full Man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.”
It is reading that adds to a man’s knowledge and makes him complete in the sense of his wisdom. Undoubtedly, it is interaction with others that prepares a person practically. Furthermore, it is the skill of extensive or innovative writing that makes a complete person.
In addition, the author describes some facts about studies. He says that if a man writes less, he needs a great memory to remember all the learned things. If a person interacts less he needs a present and sharp intellect and if one reads a little he must be clever in knowing what he does not.
Bacon impresses the reader through his comprehensive and great sayings. He says,
“Histories make men wise;
Poets, witty; the mathematics subtle;
natural philosophy, deep; moral grave;
logic and rhetoric, able to contend.”
Bacon says that it is the history of the ancestors that makes the new generation wise and witty. These are the rules and regulations laid down by the ancients that make mathematics subtle. It is because of history that philosophy has deep meaning and can be defended through logic and rhetorical arguments. Bacon encloses the essay by saying;
“So every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.”
Bacon’s Of Studies essay deals with the benefits of the study to individuals in their daily lives. From reading books to writing papers, study plays an important role in a person’s life, making him learn, wise and experienced.
Francis Bacon‘s essay is rich in intellectual wisdom, practical approach, and practical wisdom. Hence, it is considered the most beneficial essay for students and young people.