Francis Bacon: The History of a Character Assassination

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Yale University Press, 1996 - 592 Seiten
Beyond his own country Francis Bacon is remembered as a great man, founder of modern science and philosophy, a just judge and a teacher of kings. In England and America, however, he is seen more as a cruel, corrupt and power-hungry politician. Which appraisal is correct? In this fascinating re-evaluation of one of Britain's most significant figures, Nieves Mathews examines the charges against Bacon and reveals how distorted facts can be recast as historical truths.
In 1621 Bacon fell from power as Lord Chancellor, the highest position in the land. Charged with accepting bribes, he was convicted, fined, imprisoned and exiled from the Court. He died five years later, disgraced and deeply in debt. In this illuminating study of the Jacobean administration - a system which depended on corruption at every level - Nieves Mathews shows Bacon to have been among the least tainted of the King's officials, the scapegoat in a political conspiracy aimed at dislodging the royal favourite.
The destruction of Bacon's reputation followed Thomas Babington Macaulay's eloquent 'Essay on Bacon', published in 1837. Macaulay's depiction of a cloven-hearted genius, at once the greatest and meanest of mankind, launched a tireless search among Bacon's biographers for evidence of malice and corruption. Now, with the benefit of recent scholarship, Nieves Mathews portrays a man both single-minded and fallible, with qualities and flaws. Her penetrating reappraisal rescues Bacon from a long tradition of abuse and misrepresentation.
 

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Francis Bacon: the history of a character assassination

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While recognized as a brilliant scientist, lawyer, and philosopher, Bacon (1561-1626) has been maligned as a self-seeker, liar, and crook. Chief among his detractors was Thomas Macaulay, whose ... Vollständige Rezension lesen

Inhalt

The Peremptory Tides of Reputation
3
That Angel from Paradise
7
The Horrible Old Rascal
16
THE FAITHLESS FOLLOWER
25
Who Abandoned his Patron
27
And Betrayed Him
44
Essex Hero and Martyr
60
The Servant and the Dreamer
73
Thirsting for Power
229
Using his Ideas as Counters in the Power Game
238
Hunting for Popularity
256
Cravenly Suing for Power and Complacently Savouring
266
With Not a Trace of Pity for Any Human Being
283
The Lukewarm Hater
295
Without Steady Attachments
304
The Meanest of Mankind
323

THE CORRUPT CHANCELLOR
89
A Tragedy in Three Acts
91
Principal Members of the Cast
99
A Double Scenario
110
Two Attacks are Mounted and Silently Dropped
127
Bacon is Accused of Corruption in the Commons
139
The Lords Join in the Hunt
150
Surrender and Sentence
160
Evaluation of the Trial
173
The Contemporary View of Bacons Fall
180
Abuses of the Times
193
Bacons Essential Justice
206
The Aftermath
217
The TwoSouled Monster
337
The Creeping Snake
353
The Venomous Atheist the Traitor and the Coward
369
Englands One Scoundrel
384
The False Persona
394
The Sterile Philosopher
406
The Secret of their Success
429
Appendix
445
Notes
451
Bibliography
561
Index
582
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