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The New Atlantis

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  2,525 ratings  ·  169 reviews
Paperback, 48 pages
Published January 31st 2006 by Dodo Press (first published 1624)
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Average rating 3.16  · 
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Bill Kerwin

This 15,000 word fragment of a utopian narrative is written in a clear, transparent style and demonstrates that Bacon could have been an important early contributor to the body of English fiction if he hadn't been too busy with other things.

In spite of its male chauvinism, I was particularly impressed by his description of "the feast of the family"--a celebration of the individual patriarch by a society which values and honors a stable and fruitful marriage.

The description of the workings of "
Nov 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy-read
Like all utopias, boring as sh*t.
I cannot say that I liked it, for Francis Bacon's utopian vision of society is not only ridiculous but also kind of offensive. The New Atlantians, who themselves are (obviously) learned, chaste and sophisticated, consider the Chinese 'foolish', the Africans to be the 'little foul ugly Spirits of Fornication', and the American Indians plain 'savage'. Way to go, Enlightenment! (yes, I know that technically it's not Enlightenment yet). And this wondrous land called Bensalem consists exclusively of ...more
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Owlseyes by: straw´berries
A book first published in 1627, under the title The New Atlantis, Or the Voyage to the Land of the Rosicrucians.

The story of a ship lost in the Pacific ocean, with 51 people on board, 17 sick...and the encounter of a land full of "boscage": Bensalem island, whose inhabitants are Christian too and well advanced.

First communications are in Spanish, but emissaries of Bensalem master the "ancient Hebrew, Greek, the good Latin, and Spanish" languages. They're willing to assist those lost, hungry and
Oct 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book started out as more fun than any other Utiopa I've read. but it quickly digressed into uninspired, orthodox christian propoganda. Even the Jews in this city are Christians. Whatever. Essentially Bacon's ideal society is Christian Europe without the corruption and greed. However, he gives no cure for the corruption and greed. He just insists that, "they wouldn't do that." Sorry, Francis, but I need more than an insistance that a friendly group of Atlantians wouldn't dream of greed or pr ...more
Roy Lotz
Nov 07, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a very short book, so it deserves a very short review. It is interesting, and probably inevitable, to compare this work with More’s Utopia. Whereas More is mostly interested in politics, economics, and culture, Bacon’s interests are primarily scientific. At least a quarter of the book consists of a long catalogue of the inventions and discoveries made by Salomon’s House. The list was quite impressive, as Bacon does manage to anticipate many later discoveries. But it is still pretty dull, ...more
Matthew Hunter
Jan 24, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Self-loathers
Francis Bacon proves once again that one man's utopia is another man's hell. Personally, I liked parts of the "feast of the family" celebration. I also enjoyed Bacon's positive views of human achievement, progress, and scientific discovery. That said, the work remains unfinished, and the finished parts bored me to tears. Bacon's laundry list of the various scientific institutes on the island reminded me of the "uses-of-shrimp" litany in Forrest Gump, sans the charm and humor. Do not read "The Ne ...more
I watched a Wisecrack video, which pointed out three books as the pioneers of science fiction. I decided to try them out early in this year, before getting into more traditional science fiction (Wells, Asimov, and Clarke, for example). The three books are: "Micromegas" (Voltaire), "A True Story" (Lucian of Samosata) and this "New Atlantis".

This short story describes Bensalem, an utopic city that is, at the same time, governed by the Christian religous and moral values and by the cientific curios
Read from Three Early Modern Utopias Three Early Modern Utopias by Thomas More

To be fair: New Atlantis is an unfinished work. So the writing could have been significantly different. Francis Bacon might have completely rethought the text. I can only review what has been written.

European visitors to this utopian island find themselves in a school of higher learning, a school of arts and mechanics. Could it be that the paternalistic nature of colleges and universities were developed in part as a result of the influence of this utopian
Audrey Stark
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
I get that the genre of utopia is all about paradox. I just didn't enjoy this text, and that's what it boils down to. It's probably really offensive to some people. It's a Christian utopia which asserts God chose them to handle knowledge not given to the rest of the world. There's a token Jew and women are basically not present. I was bored.
Carol Spears
Nov 13, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
The end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible.

New Atlantis is a Utopia ruled by scientist-kings, viz. the elite with supreme knowledge of causes of Nature. Bacon's vision is awe-inspiring, in both senses of the word. On the one hand, it is mind-boggling to ponder the vast unrealized but distinctly real potential of human knowledge and consequent power. On the other hand,
Josh Friedlander
The idea of Utopia implies a dissatisfaction with the present, and the capacity to imagine a better world, novel in itself at this phase of intellectual history. Bacon is of course in dialogue with More's book, the more famous and "trope-namer"; but this is notable for its stress on the university within that practices the "Baconian method" of both theoretical and applied scientific research. The decentralised nature of Ben-Salem leaves open the possibility that in this enlightened and rational ...more
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
A short, short text. It is in More's tradition of Utopia. Contrary to Utopia, however, The New Atlantis is entrenched in the scientific. It prophesizes various modern-day inventions such as the submarine. The text ends on a quite conclusive note as if it is a doctrine that should be implemented immediately into all the nations of the earth. It seeks to reach into the heart of society and, hence, to imagine what makes a community fulfilled and happy.
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
There are some interesting ideas. But, the writing... It's as dry as a brick in the middle of a desert during a most severe heatwave.
Ada Sinziana
May 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
A book I endured to the end simply because I was hoping it would get better. It did not. The best thing about this book was the fact that it was not too long.
Maan Kawas
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful Utopian novel by Sir Francis Bacon that reflects his aspirations and visions for the human future based on his! The prophetic novel demonstrates very creative ideas in the field of scientific experimentation, invention, and scientific discoveries. The people of this land are generous and pious, with high moralities and values (e.g. they do not accept to be doubly paid), but with a greater tendency and interest in applying the scientific and empirical method, as championed by Bacon, t ...more
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
I was rather disappointed in this. This was the second story in a book that had 3 Utopia stories in it, and after reading the first story (Moore's Utopia) this was especially a letdown. I expected more world-building, since this story is told from the POV of a man whose ship is blown off course and he ends up in a strange land.

We learn of a tradition where men with at least 30 descendants are given honor, but a woman who achieves this is not afforded the same honor. Also, at the ceremony, the ma
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
I read this because Peter Thiel had recommended it. Honestly it's Bacon blatantly pushing his ideals into a 50 page booklet about a Utopian society. The world itself doesn't feel well constructed. The sailors who discovered this Utopian island were given "oranges that were scarlet in color" to heal their sea sickness. There was mention of vines that were like ours yet were white in color. There's a bunch of other things like that were he took something that was and just changed it a little and c ...more
Viji (Bookish endeavors)
Had that father of Salomon's House been talking about himself,I would have called him an egotist to his face. But as it is,he was talking about his island. But all this 'we have' that he described made Bacon's utopia look like 'all work and no play made him dumb'..
Though the rituals of the feast were strange,and so were the ways in which the narrator and his group were allowed to enter the island,the islanders were good in their treatment of strangers. But what I didn't feel right was their att
Paul LaFontaine
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Another entry in the "find the alternative civilization, describe it and thus comment on English society" category. I love that all these stories start at the Club in London where friends gather to hear tales of far off lands. The trick, I think, would have been to stay in London and attend a lot of dinners at the Club.

This society was not as compelling as other's I have read. The utopian approach is scientific, and the discourse was not terribly memorable. I say start with Gulliver's Travels, b
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A short utopian novel of wonderful imagination and scientific insight written in the early 17th century. A group of European sailors lost in the Pacific Ocean near Peru encounter an unknown civilization that is advanced in all worldly knowledge, language and technological marvel and conceals itself from the rest of humanity.
Sep 24, 2014 added it
Shelves: fiction
a post-natural country, technological positivism, hermits living in mines being data mined, patriarchal management of reproduction, light based economy, immaterial labor, unilateral flows of knowledge, technologies of the extension and modification in life in exchange for no access to self-control over the reproduction of life...
Rex Libris
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
It is Bacon's view of a Utopian society, a la More's Utopia, but it is only 30 pages, so there is not much to it.
Cole Whetstone
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was ok

Unity: Francis Bacon’s take on the ideal (Christian) society, framed as a retelling of the Old Platonic Story of Atlantis. Bacon gives us an idea of a moderate theocracy that is lax towards strangers, but nonetheless ultimately isolationist.

3 Prompts:
1. How can I talk about utopia in a way that is more compelling than More? Bacon’s tale starts off as a thrilling fiction, but quickly becomes a treatise. The work would’ve no doubt benefited if he had stuck with one genre, or at least more skillfu
Ozan Pektas
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it
A: So, you enjoyed 1984 right?
B: Yeah it was fantastic!
A: And you are interested in other Distopias right?
B: Right, and also the opposite; Utopia ones! I enjoyed AD 2150..
A: And you are excited about The New Atlantis, since it known as one of the 3 classical utopias
B: Right!
A: And you think it's pure creativity, right?
B: Right..
A: WRONG! ..... WRONG!

Alright, in this book we are facing the Atlantis which is a perfect place for Bacon's imagination.
What do you expect in world like this?
Mark Clackum
   English Renaissance Philosopher, Father of Empiricism,  Creator of the Scientific Method, Attorney General,  & Lord Chancellor of England,  Sir Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626) left behind an unfinished novel (published posthumously) offerring a detailed vision of Utopia that reads like a fable, called New Atlantis. 

     Bacon offers a vision for a society driven mainly by science and knowledge, with its only driving principle being the bettering of man’s feeble condition. To that end, Bacon redef
Hassanin Abed
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: quarantine
A reader with no background about the author or the circumstances of the book would instantly think of this as a boring science-fiction novel grotesquely written. For Bacon, if humanity can adopt to science in arriving at things, if we just use these tool in hands to observe and examine the nature around us, we can certainly dominate and conquer nature in a way that nobody could. Misery can no longer have a place, starvation would be a thing from the past and humans conflicts and hostility towar ...more
David Campbell
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Harbinger of modernity Sir Francis Bacon’s posthumous, prophetic, and literary foray into the Utopian genre made popular a century earlier by Sir Thomas More (1516). Bacon lets a then still contradictory mix of English colonial ambition, Protestant Christianity, and scientific method and reasoning dance in his own mind resulting in a vision of a powerful, politically independent, English-speaking, latently Christianized superpower rising in the Americas with industry, research universities, avia ...more
Evaldas Svirplys
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
// Experimentalist's Dreamland or Quo vadis America.

An interesting insight into one of the most influential 20th centuries man's vision of the NEW WORLD. This Utopian story should only be read with a knowledge of historical and biographical context. Evaluating the novel solely by it's artistic merit (in an Oscar Wilde's definition) would land it somewhere on the line with M. Night Shyamalan's filmography.

P.S. The New Atlantis inspired the creation of the Royal Society. Dope!
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Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, QC, was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, essayist, and author. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. After his death, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific method during the scientific revolution.

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