This son of British aristocracy lived a charged political life in which he yo-yoed in and out of favor with England's royal court. He served in parliament, and on the Queen's Council, and the Council of the Learned, but never managed to gain a truly lucrative post. Poor political connections, bad money management, and perhaps a questionable personal life led to a series of legal problems that landed him a few days in the Tower of London and forced him into retirement. He wrote much of his life, covering everything from science and philosophy to politics and personal essays. Among other works, he published The Advancement of Learning (1605), and Novum Organum (1620), two books representative of his influence on the modern scientific method, as well as a utopian novel, The New Atlantis (1627), and, of course, his Essays (1597-1625), a personal, candid treatment of quotidian subjects like truth, revenge, love, atheism, superstition, travel, friendship, anger, and fame. As profound as he was prolific, Bacon stands with Montaigne at the head of the modern essayistic tradition, a forerunner of England's future master essayists.
(Compiled by Joey Franklin)