Jan 24, 08
Read in January, 2008
"Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth." --from "Of Truth"
Bacon's essays cover topics from the purely intellectual (truth, religion, beauty) to the practical/"human interest" (friendship, honor, marriage) to the mundane (money, architecture, gardening). As such, it's not easy to write a unified critique; there's just too much here. For the most part, however, I think Bacon's on the right track. Some of his notions seem rather quaint (particularly his astronomical and astrological ideas), but the Big Questions (of ethics, of truth, of religion, etc.) haven't changed much since well before his time, nor do I expect them to. For that reason, this book (and others like it) will probably not be "outdated" anytime soon.
*Note*: Bacon makes liberal use of Latin in his essays. Unless you can read that language, look for an edition with translations. I got along tolerably well without them, but it would've been nice not to have to skip paragraphs at a time.