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new atlantis

The New Atlantis

In 1623 Sir Francis Bacon expressed his aspirations and ideals in The New Atlantis. Released in 1627, this utopian novel was his creation of an ideal land where "generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendor, piety and public spirit" were the commonly held qualities of the inhabitants of Bensalem. In this work, he portrayed a vision of the future of human discovery and knowledge. The plan and organization of his ideal college, "Solomon's House", envisioned the modern research university in both applied and pure science.

Synopsis

The novel depicts a mythical land, Bensalem, which is discovered by the crew of an European ship after they are lost in the Pacific Ocean somewhere west of Peru. The European narrator recounts some of the island's customs and, most importantly, its state-sponsored scientific institution, Solomon's House.

The best and brightest of Bensalem's citizens attend a college called Solomon's House, in which scientific experiments are conducted in Baconian method in order to understand and conquer nature, and to apply the collected knowledge to the betterment of society.

Critical analysis

Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker have argued that Bacon was not as idealistic as Atlantis might suggest. A year prior to the release of New Atlantis, Bacon published an essay that reveals a version of himself not often seen in history. This essay, a lesser-known work entitled, "An Advertisement Touching an Holy War," advocated the elimination of detrimental societal elements by the English and compared this to the endeavors of Hercules while establishing civilized society in ancient Greece. He saw the "extirpation and debellating of giants, monsters, and foreign tyrants, not only as lawful, but as meritorious, even divine honour... Laurence Lampert has interpreted Bacon's treatise An Advertisement Touching a Holy War as advocating "spiritual warfare against the spiritual rulers of European civilization.

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