Of Studies: A critical Appreciation
Francis Bacon is called the father of English essay. As an essayist he enjoys a glorious reputation. His essays are the results of his direct observation of men and matters. He has written a number of essays on various subjects. OF STUDIES is one of them.
This essay deals with three aspects of studies. These three aspects are the uses, effects and purpose of studies. Bacon says that studies are useful in three ways. They give delight in our private life. They render our talk in society interesting and witty. They develop our powers of decision and judgment.
The essayist says that studied are disliked by crafty men. They are admired by simple people. Wise men use them profitably. Books must not make us contagious or dogmatic. But they should make us critical. Bacon is of the view that some books are to be read. Many books may be read by summaries. According to him a few books are to read deeply and thoroughly.
The essayist says that we should read in order to gather information. We must discuss and debate in order to be quick-witted. We must write in order to fully assimilate what is read. We should try to gain precision in the use of words. The reading of books on various subjects will help to cure the defects of our mind.
Bacon says that the real object of studies is to develop our self knowledge. The effect of studies on our mind is to banish errors and mistakes. Studies make our minds cultivated. Without them our minds will be mixture of abilities and disabilities which are mutually incompatible. In short, studies mould our characters.
Thus OF STUDIES is a beautiful essay by Bacon. It is full of aphorisms. Many of them passed into current quotations. This essay seems like a collection of short, pithy maxims with tremendous compression. Each sentence conveys deep and concentrated meaning. Here the essayist has expressed serious thought in a simple, clear and brief manner. Here the emphasis is laid on the matter rather than on the manner. The matter is grave, deep and philosophical.