by Mary Learner and Morgan Souza

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Francis Bacon and his role in the so-called "scientific revolution" has been tumultuous, primarily due to the editions and criticism published about him after his death. Bacon's primacy as a figure in scientific philosophy was solidified in the formation of the seventeenth-century Royal Society, and his importance continued to be recognized for the subsequent three hundred years. According to Graham Rees, writers in "the twentieth century [...] [appear] to have destroyed Bacon's authority as a guide to the nature of scientific knowledge and ways of acquiring it, and apparently made it pointless to appeal to his name to justify a hypothesis, or even look to him as a distant progenitor of the current philosophical consensus" (xxxvi). The twenty-first century, however, has seen a return to Bacon, crediting the seventeenth-century natural philosopher with inventing the scientific method, an intellectual feat that contemporary society prizes.1

Due to Bacon's monumental contributions to the foundations of modern science, his religious faith is sometimes forgotten: Bacon never stopped seeking glimpses of God in his investigations of the book of the natural world, the book created before Scripture. Also lost in this version of Bacon is his demand for collaborative inquiry, which is less about reaching a particular telos and more about exploring the vast unknowable, all while acknowledging the futility of such a project. Tracing the publication history of Bacon's New Atlantis, first printed in 1627 by William Rawley, reveals an editorial lineage that contributes to the status of Bacon as scientific forefather, an epic figure in his innovations for the sake of mankind. Bacon's New Atlantis is a short utopian work that imaginatively explores the future of society and scientific labor, one that positions his idealized society as derivative from the fruits of the educational and scientific processes that he outlines in earlier works such as his Novum Organum (1620). Perhaps Bacon's uneven scientific reputation is no more evident than in the treatment of Bacon's only fictional work. New Atlantis has been printed in collections of utopias in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, often isolated from its original print context as bound with Bacon's Sylva Sylvarum and further divorcing New Atlantis from its scientific significance. Also lost in this process is the difficulty of grappling with the process required to reach Bacon's utopian final destination of collaborative inquiry depicted in New Atlantis, a process which demands working through the strangeness of Bacon's natural philosophy as represented in Sylva Sylvarum's experiments. This study will explore several facets of the New Atlantis over time in order to understand how its editorial history has shaped critical approaches to the text, and how this has inflected Bacon's characterization as a thinker, an author, and eventually, a monolith of scientific ideas.

Our purpose is ultimately to explore what may be lost in editions that separate the two texts "designed" to accompany each other, and how individual printings of New Atlantis may position Bacon as an emblem of scientism in the twenty-first century. Our investigation takes seriously David Colclough's argument that "Sylva is a necessary port of call on the way to New Atlantis" and his call for the two texts to be read in tandem by scholars (Colclough 182). We follow the meandering editorial path that has separated the two in the majority of modern editions, including both print and digital reproductions of Bacon's fable. To this end, we seek to address Bonnie Mak's call for scholars to consider "the ontological rift that separates digitizations from their exemplars" (1515). Essential to our analysis is the idea of "remediation" defined by Diana Kichuk as "the re-presentation of one medium in another" (292). Digital editions of New Atlantis, either as facsimiles in Early English Books Online (EEBO) or as hyperlinked text on websites, are the most recent instantiations of Bacon's text, and the differences represented in these digital spaces is yet another manifestation of how the text is disseminated.

When considering how Bacon's published works influenced his characterization, his first editor and biographer, William Rawley, deserves critical attention as an unwitting contributor to the perfecting impulse to Bacon's works. By perfecting impulse, we refer to an editorial trend that obscures Bacon's mentality that continual progress is a necessary part of the scientific process. This obfuscation comes at the cost of acknowledging that Bacon's corpus is messy and sometimes incomplete, self-consciously seeking collaboration from others. Rawley's first edition sought to acknowledge incompleteness, but his very role as an editor compromised how later editors treated his textual authority.

Before his death, Bacon willed his materials to Rawley, and Rawley served as Bacon's scribe for the last years of his life. In his Resuscitatio (1657), Rawley describes himself as Bacon's "Amanuensis, or dayly instrument." Very much in the ethos of progress and development, Rawley suggests in his title that Bacon's ideas are living, breathing things that are merely sleeping. He is Bacon's ideal editor, poised to reawaken ideas from beyond the grave. When he published the "Memoriae honoratissimi domini Francisci," Latin elegies written by Bacon's friends in 1626, Rawley prophesied that they would serve as the "foundations in the name of the present age; every age will enlarge and adorn this edifice; but to what age is given to set the finishing hand is manifest only to God and the Fates" (4). Rawley comprehends the importance of improvement and that Bacon's work is not static, but rather invites dynamic engagement and continued development. Just as Bacon's natural philosophical endeavors do not seek to understand the creative process of the divine, Rawley leaves the finished, perfected edifice to be determined by higher powers. After Bacon bequeathed his manuscripts to Rawley, the chaplain corrects the "Surreptitious Copies [...] [that have] employed the Presse, with sundry Corrupt, and Mangled, Editions" (a.4.v). Prescient of the editorial theory presented by W. W. Greg in "The Rationale of Copy-Text," Rawley circulated a particular version of Bacon's unpublished writings based on the manuscripts with his judicious emendations. He published accurate texts as Bacon would have wanted them to be, with the hopes that future generations will improve and build upon the legacy his friend has left. At least, that is his claim.

The first edition of Sylva Sylvarum and New Atlantis similarly embodies the coalescence of Bacon's philosophic and poetic genius seen in the elegies written by Bacon's supporters. At first glance the two Baconian texts seem like odd bedfellows: Sylva Sylvarum is a long series of a thousand experiments, including a wide range of topics, while New Atlantis is a utopia focusing on a fictional scientific community. With an imaginative stretch, one may view the Sylva Sylvarum, with its aphoristic, instructional experiments, as a first intellectual step in the process toward the society depicted in New Atlantis. Alternatively, Sylva Sylvarum may be a metaphor for the whole of New Atlantis, which ends just after the narrator learns about the inner workings of Salomon's House. Like the numerous unresolved experiments in Sylva, New Atlantis leaves readers to wonder how this epistemological process will be implemented by the visitors of Bensalem once they leave, or if it will be implemented at all. However, in technical terms, arguably the only commonality between the two is their rushed incompleteness. Rawley represents this by stating that the manuscripts are unfinished. According to Rawley in his letter to the readers, his choice to co-publish these texts was not arbitrary. Bacon "designed [New Atlantis] for this Place; In regard it hath so neare Affinity (in one Part of it) with the Preceding Naturall History" (22). By appending this claim in an address to his audience, Rawley invites the thousand experiments to be read in dialogue with Bacon's fictional account of Bensalem's scientifically-minded inhabitants. In the process, he implies an editorial necessity. The two were meant to be physically bound together in a single volume, read side-by-side as a result of their material constraints.

The rest of our focus will be on a few particularities that originated from early printings of Rawley's edition, and trace what has been perpetuated through twenty-first century editions. We have chosen three main sections of the 1627 edition to center our analyses: the two engravings that preface the book, one a portrait of Sir Francis Bacon, the other a frontispiece to the Sylva Sylvarum; the textual representation of New Atlantis, particularly its paratextual material; and finally, the abrupt, unperfect ending of the New Atlantis.

By examining the New Atlantis in print, and its progression through digital media, we hope to understand the legacy of Rawley's editorial choices on subsequent editions of Bacon's utopia.2 Bacon's authorial construction is only partially transmitted from Rawley's posthumous publications. Although later editors emulate Rawley by emphasizing Bacon's importance to the development of science, tracing the New Atlantis through time reveals that Rawley's second message — the need for collaborative aid and the acceptance of the unperfect, both essential to Bacon's scientific philosophy — has moved to the periphery, while Bacon's monumental status as inventor of scientific inquiry has taken the fore. Additionally, the comparative accessibility of New Atlantis makes it susceptible to being viewed as simply a utopia rather than a container of natural philosophical ideas.

A Legacy of Engravings

The posthumous edition of Sylva and New Atlantis physically differs from books published by Bacon in his lifetime. For one, the edition is significantly larger in comparison, and, as David Scott Kastan has argued, size does matter in early modern printing. For instance the folio lends the first edition a gravitas not imparted by the quarto-sized The tvvoo bookes of Francis Bacon (1605) or The essayes or counsels, civill and morall (1625), and the sense of the book as a Work is only compounded by the large engraved portrait which opens Sylva. Rawley's editing echoes the ornate choices made by Ben Jonson in his 1616 Workes,

A black and white, high-contrast version of Ben Jonson's 1616 The Workes of Benjamin Jonson from EEBO.

The title page of Shakespeare's 1623 First Folio from Folger Shakespeare Library.

or the stately title page of Shakespeare's First Folio from 1623, edited by John Heminges and Henry Condell and published by Isaac Jaggard and Edward Blount (Meskill 177). "Jonson's decision to produce a folio," Meskill argues, "[was] a gesture signifying a certain literary ambition: a desire not only to imitate the ancients in their fame but also the ‘great' English poets who had been recently converted into ‘ancient' authorities themselves" (Meskill 179). Rawley's process with Bacon seems similar in that regard, taking the unpublished manuscripts he had and crafting an author of significance analogous to printed folios of poets.

Rawley's 1627 publication of Sylva and New Atlantis opens with two facing engravings: a portrait of Francis Bacon and an emblematic frontispiece depicting the Pillars of Hercules and the intellectual world.

Francis Bacon. Sylva sylvarum: or A naturall historie. In ten centuries. 1627. Rare Book Collection, The Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The first image, Bacon's portrait, is lavish, framed by a curving scroll that features the words "moniti meliora," or "better advice," which alludes to a phrase from Virgil's Aeneid (ln. 188), a fitting reference to a foundational myth.3 It is a story of progress, trial and error, and hope, all themes that resonate with Bacon's philosophical works. Further, "better," as a comparative adjective, is in a transitional state suggesting perpetual striving towards the superlative "best," an ethos that underpins Bacon's experimental striving. The bottom of the portrait includes Francis Bacon's name and lists his titles, beginning with "Baro de Verulam," or Baron of Verulam.4 This title, bestowed on him by King James I, and its ancient reference to a Roman settlement called "Verulamium," continues to recall Virgil's epic and the tradition of situating Britain's origins in Brutus of Troy.5 The portrait emphasizes Bacon as part of a historical progression of improvement that spans the whole country's history, not simply his own cultural moment. The portrait's text highlights Bacon's most important status achievements in his lifetime, elevating Bacon the man to a monolithic figure. He is depicted as a model of improvement, a person who lived by his own "better advice" of striving. All of the symbols—the herald, scepters, scroll, text, and ornate bust—cement Bacon's status as an intellectual contributor in the larger cultural history of Britain.

Francis Bacon. Sylva sylvarum: or A naturall historie. In ten centuries. 1627. Rare Book Collection, The Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1627.

If the portrait of Bacon evokes grandeur and cultural progress on a human scale, the second frontispiece suggests such on a universal level. The top of the image features a sun engraved with the tetragrammaton, the four letters in the Hebrew alphabet for "YHWH," pronounced "Yahweh," a name used for the Judeo-Christian God. On either side of the script are two cherubim, the right studying the tetragrammaton, while the left looks down towards the globe. Their pose evokes the great chain of being by drawing a line of sight between God and the globe through their gazes. The central ray of the sun points directly at the globe and illuminates it, making clear that knowledge and its illumination are attributed to God's divine will. The globe below is labeled "Mundus Intellectualis," approximately "world of the intellect." The Earth-like globe is cradled between two identical pillars, which may represent the Pillars of Hercules, an image also featured on the frontispiece of Bacon's 1620 Novum Organum. In Apollodorus's account of Hercules' tenth labor in his Bibliotheca, it is Helios, the Sun, who grants Hercules the key to help him along on his journey.6 In the context of Bacon's works and ideas, participants in Bacon's experimental philosophy must ultimately look toward God to find answers to their questions about the world, just as Hercules has the courage to shoot at the sun, to look upward in order to take action against his difficulties. However, natural historians must also rely on themselves, conducting mundane searches and working within the parameters of the known world to recover lost knowledge. These pillars emphasize that experimental philosophy must take place through action in the physical world, not only in contemplation of the divine. Margery Corbett and Ronald Lightbown's interpretation similarly notes, "To Bacon, Hercules' columns represented 'a fewe receiued Authors [...] beyond which, there should be no sayling, or discouering'—a defiant reference to Aristotle as interpreted by the Schoolmen and so to the whole body of an intellectual discipline which stood in the way of progress. The ships in his title-page symbolize human understanding going out to discover new territories for the empire of knowledge" (186). Bacon advocates for experiential learning through exploration of the world rather than of scholastic texts.

To illuminate the connection to the physical world that the pillars represent, it is useful to turn again to the classical mythos. In his dialogue Timaeus (c. 360 B.C.), Plato describes the mythical island of Atlantis, "a distant point in the Atlantic ocean," accessible through "'the pillars of Heracles'" until "one grievous day and night befell them [...] and the island of Atlantis [...] was swallowed up by the sea and vanished; wherefore also the ocean at that spot has now become impassable and unsearchable" (Bury 24e-25d). Atlantis itself, described as a "confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power," is lost (Bury 25a). The inclusion of the pillars with the globe cradled between suggests a desire to move the world into the open, expansive sea in the background of the frontispiece, to rediscover lost knowledge of the physical world while guided by the grace of God. As Plato's account and the inclusion of the pillars suggests, Bacon's New Atlantis may lie out in the unknown. These images once again evoke the themes of striving consistent in Bacon's accompanying portrait and his overall philosophy.

Including the portrait and the frontispiece at the beginning of the first edition of Bacon's Sylva Sylvarum and New Atlantis begins to establish Francis Bacon as an exalted and singular intellectual presence in an epic framework. The presence of classical references heightens the sense of historical importance of both the author and his works, but this epic grandeur may have a fossilizing effect, the reverberations of which can be seen through time in editions of Sylva and New Atlantis. In many epic works, especially the ones referenced here, the journey is completed. Hercules finishes his labors. The Trojans are defeated and the funeral rites and celebratory games are carried out. Aeneas successfully founds Troy. These epics of process and progress become Works. This is the imagery that prefaces Bacon's aphoristic list of experiments and imaginative scientific utopia, the contents of which are resistant at many points to the stasis and completion suggested by the references to epic works in the imagery of the first edition.

Compared to the grandiosity of the frontispiece included at the beginning of Rawley's 1627 publication of Sylva Sylvarum and New Atlantis, the second part containing New Atlantis does not feature its own frontispiece, making it appear comparatively modest. This is true for all of the editions that we examined in the Wilson Library, including the 1635, 1639, and 1664 reprintings. It is important to note, too, that the 1639 version in the Wilson does not include a title page for New Atlantis, which we suspect was cut out at some point during its history. Each of the title pages for the 1627, 1635, and 1664 editions is modest. For example, the 1627 title page exhibits a small margin on its outer edge, and then a border created by two simple, nesting boxes of a size to fit the page.

Francis Bacon. Sylva sylvarum: or A naturall historie. In ten centuries. 1627. Rare Book Collection, The Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Below the text is a small but intricate woodcut of the figure of Father Time, featuring a sickle, hourglass, wings, long beard, and hooved feet (Brydges 80). Time is drawing Truth, a naked woman wearing a crown, out of a cave (80). The inscription reads, "TEMPORE PATET OCCVLTA VERITAS," which means roughly "time seeks secret truth," and is often taken to mean "time brings forth hidden truth" (Dawkins 282). The initials "RS" stand for "Richard Smith," for whom the woodcut was printed (Brydges 80). The inclusion of this woodcut implies that new things and ideas are constantly being revealed by time in its constant motion forward, that society and science are works in progress, that striving will inevitably bear fruit.

Francis Bacon. Sylva sylvarum, or, A naturall historie : in ten centuries. 1635. Rare Book Collection, The Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

By comparison, the 1635 edition includes nuanced but significant differences. It includes a similarly narrow margin and two simple, black-lined, nested boxes to create a border that fits the page. The title reads, "NEW / ATLANTIS." Similarly to the 1627 version, "ATLANTIS" is bolder and larger than the smaller, lighter "NEW." Additionally, "NEW" is now spelled using the character "w" rather than two "v" characters. Very similarly to the 1627 version, the second line reads, "A VVorke unfinished." Unlike the earlier edition, this line makes use of "u" instead of "v." These slight differentiations may be seen as markers of changing aesthetic tastes, perhaps between printers or on a larger scale through time, as characters are becoming increasingly distinguished from one another. A line in the center reads, "Written by the Right Honourable, / F R A N C I S / Lord Verulam,Viscount St. Alban." In this later title page, Bacon's first name is given special treatment, writ-large and provided its own line, compared to the 1627 title page. The decorative border lines also suggest a sense of elegance and importance that the simpler 1627 version does not convey. There is another woodcut below the lower decorative border that reads, "VERITAS FILIA TEMPORIS," or "truth is the daughter of time." The woodcut is bordered by a pattern of leaves and scrolls, providing a vertical rectangular frame for the oval-shaped image that bears the text in a double-lined border. In the center of the oval is the image itself, which features a winged Father Time holding an hourglass in one hand with his other arm on naked Truth. A third character, Envy, who is recognizable by her single coiling serpent leg, is latched onto both Father Time and Truth (Collaert). Similar to the woodcut in the 1627 edition, it shows that truth is a process borne by and through time. This woodcut, more literally than the first, suggests that the progression of time will lead to intellectual progeny by painting Truth as Time's daughter.

As mentioned previously, the 1639 edition does not include a title page, but the 1664 edition does. This later edition more closely resembles the 1627 edition, and in fact appears to rely on this edition as a copy text. Once again, the title includes a narrow margin and two nested boxes formed of black lines —

Francis Bacon. Sylva sylvarum: or, A natural history, in ten centuries whereunto is newly added the History naturall and experimentall of life and death, or of the prolongation of life. 1664. Rare Book Collection, The Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

— that create a border that fits the page. The space between the boxes of the 1664 edition is much smaller than earlier title pages, perhaps a quarter of the size. This edition retains the line divisions of the 1627, restoring "FRANCIS" next to the title of "Right Honourable," and uses italics to emphasize the place names only. Interestingly, this later edition does not include a classical, symbolic woodcut but instead a fleur-de-lis wrapped on each side by a curving leaf that curls in on itself at the top, creating almost a heart shape, which serves as a flourish compared to the allegorical emblems in miniature in the 1627 and 1635 editions.

One way of reading the lack of unique frontispiece to preface New Atlantis is to see it as a tacked-on addition. However, given the symbolic content of the frontispiece, which we believe includes imagery that suggests the presence of Atlantis, the first frontispiece may serve as a prefatory image to both texts. This further emphasizes the impetus for reading Sylva Sylvarum and New Atlantis together in a way that that Colclough has previously called for. As Colclough observes, Sylva and New Atlantis both begin with images of the sea; the first experiment offers directions to make salt water potable, while the utopia begins with sailors blown off-course, sickening because they have depleted their victuals. And arguably nautical exploration is a recurring metaphor for Bacon's Great Instauration, as the frontispiece of the Novum Organum and Advancement of Learning conveys.

A revised portrait of Francis Bacon in Richard Foster Jones's 1937 edition of Essays, Advancement of Learning, New Atlantis, and Other Pieces.

Modern print editions have, with a surprising prevalence, continued to adapt the engraving of Bacon, while the Sylva's frontispiece has only been alluded to in a few. These portraits most often emulate the engraving from the 1627 edition. For instance, Richard Foster Jones's collection of Essays, Advancement of Learning, New Atlantis, and Other Pieces (1937) begins with a copy clearly based on the original, but with a few variances. The family crest and banner have been cropped out to focus on Bacon's figure. Details such as his laced ruff and embroidered clothing are made clearer, and though his hand is in the same position, this print portrays a book, rather than the the outer edge of the frame. The text underneath the image has also been altered; instead of part of the engraving, the text is typographically represented, and Bacon's titles have been translated from Latin and have been Anglicized, with the emphasis on his knighthood and role as chancellor rather than Lord Verulam.7 Out of the printed copies observed for this project, about a third included portraits, and all were near the beginning of the edition, similar to Rawley's.

The title page of Jones' 1937 Essays, Advancement of Learning, New Atlantis, and Other Pieces, showing a lack of the original frontispiece.

None of the modern printed editions include the ornate frontispiece that accompanied Rawley's early editions, but allusions to the nautically themed emblem resurface occasionally. The title page of Jones's 1937 edition includes a ship in miniature: a captain stands at the helm, directing the eight indistinguishable rowers to maintain their strokes in unison. This image choice appears to be an intuitive one: seafaring is essential to the plot of New Atlantis, and metaphorically to the quest for knowledge, as in the process of Salomon's House. But in conjunction with the facing page of Bacon's portrait, the ship's captain takes on additional meaning. Bacon is again a figurehead, directing the intellectual queries of men, just as the expert captain navigates uncertain waters by managing his crew. This small ship perhaps most closely aligns with the frontispieces to the Novum Organum and Advancement of Learning; regardless, the nautical themes from the engravings have found their way to modern editions of the New Atlantis, which seems appropriate given its thematic content. Spedding's edition similarly uses an image of a ship, though again without the Pillars of Hercules or other classical references apparent in the original frontispiece.

The title page from James Spedding's c. 1900 second volume of The Works of Francis Bacon.

The home page of Lawrence Gerald's Sir Francis Bacon's New Advancement of Learning found at 2016.

Digital remediations of the engravings vary widely, and as a result of the different formatting, create a different effect on the text. Surprisingly the majority of hyperlinked editions (Project Gutenberg, Perseus, and did not include images along with their text, with the outstanding exception of created by Lawrence Gerald. Last updated in January 2016 as of this writing, the website opens with a rotating series of Photoshopped images of Francis Bacon in modern settings that greet visitors, who then have to click a hyperlink above to enter the website. The table of contents states that the website's purpose is to make available "the monumental contributions that this Renaissance genius advanced." The "Francis Bacon Gallery" includes an array of images, many accompanied by strong Anti-Stratfordian claims promoting Bacon as the true author of Shakespeare's works.

A black and white, high-contrast version of the 1627 portrait and frontispiece of Sylva Sylvarum and New Atlantis from EEBO.

This edition is crafted with a particular audience in mind: one that believes wholeheartedly in Bacon's status as an innovator of science, a status that must be defended and augmented to include his literary genius as well, specifically his unacknowledged brilliance as the mind behind the world's most valued literature. The photoshopped pictures of Bacon reflect this audience. Though ostensibly playful, the website requires passing through a Bacon gateway that they have crafted to create their own particular argument, which perhaps is more aligned with Rawley's ostentatious opening to the 1627 edition than the images first appear. For instance, the motorcycle Bacon insists upon a figure that is daring and adventurous, pulling on modern associations to facilitate a reading that does not stray far from Rawley's original insistence on Bacon as a forerunner of new scientific inquiry. The 1627 edition forces readers to elide Bacon the man with his collaborative project through the material construction of the Sylva's opening pages. Elsewhere on the website Bacon's portrait and frontispiece are presented side by side on the Sylva page, albeit without the text, though readers can access photographs of a 1631 edition up through the table of contents by clicking links at the bottom of each page. The New Atlantis page with the full text contains a digitally designed ship, reiterating the plot rather than presenting the symbolic capacious view of the sea present in the frontispiece.

EEBO, as a digital archive of scanned reproductions, provides a different view of the illustrations and as such affects their meaning. The saturation renders the engravings almost illegible. Details are lost in the dark blotches surrounding Bacon's face, and the careful engraving of his shirt and sleeves are completely obscured. His shoulders actually blend into the dark background, muting Bacon's normally notable size and stature. The contrast results in a gross distortion of his features and makes discerning the details in the accompanying frontispiece equally difficult. One important obfuscation is the gaze of the cherubim, the directions of which are less clearly defined. The pillars, a feature significant in more than one frontispiece in Bacon's works, are almost completely blacked out. Such a digitization does not fully express the care, precision, and reverence for Bacon that higher quality reproductions exhibit. At the same time, this digitization mars important markers that would otherwise illuminate a narrative of progress.

The varied appropriations of the engravings in the 1627 edition imply that over time, Bacon's establishment as a figurehead for his works has been fairly pervasive. The intricate images, however, have received less scholarly attention, and like the divorcing of the Sylva and New Atlantis, seem to have receded from critical editions. Both the omission and editing of the engravings may change how New Atlantis is read, as the frontispiece may be seen to specifically link New Atlantis to Sylva Sylvarum by way of its imagery. The exploratory voyage to rediscover Atlantis by passing through the Pillars of Hercules, which can be accomplished through the intellectual striving that takes place in Sylva, represented by the pillars themselves as a monuments of labor. Without the frontispiece, the connection between the works is more easily lost.

Concluding with New Atlantis

The New Atlantis invariably appears at the end of collections of Bacon's works, regardless of the constellation of texts modern editors choose. The consistency of New Atlantis's placement at the end of modern editions is analogous to its placement in the early editions bound with Sylva. This placement may be in part because of the imagined status of the utopia as Bacon's last work, unfinished due to his death rather than his reprioritized focus on other works towards the end of his life. The exception to this arrangement occurs in modern editions that include works by other writers, either in collections of utopias or of complementary texts written by contemporary authors. But why? New Atlantis's placement at the end of Bacon's works in some ways suggests a natural progression: the utopia is the fruition of a future heritage of scientific labors based on "experiments of Light" that illuminate knowledge about the natural world (Sargent 72). Perhaps as Bacon's only piece of extant fiction, New Atlantis serves as a beacon of hope for a brighter future, an instance of daringness to imagine what is not yet real but could be. In Bacon's own words, "For besides that I hope my speculations may in virtue of my continual constancy with nature have a value beyond the pretensions of my wit, they will serve in the meantime for wayside inns, in which the mind may rest and refresh itself on its journey to more certain conclusions" (84). These "wayside inns" are the imaginative spaces to restore the self between scientific inquiry and experimentation, a space provided by this utopia.

Although the print editions in our sample follow Rawley's organization, the Sylva is never appended to Bacon's fable in its entirety. Only Sargent's features an excerpt: her edition includes seven pages of the first twenty-five experiments in Century I, which is a small fraction (3%) of the original volume. This creates a different sense of the ratios between the texts originally bound together, where the overwhelming enumeration of experiments dwarfs the brief utopia. The motivations for what texts appear in each collection of Bacon's work is varied, but a recurring reason for including the New Atlantis is that it serves as one of the few "examples of Bacon's English style" and the only of his fictional writing (Jones v). Other editions precede the text with De Dignitate et Augementis Scientiarum (Jones 1937), The Advancement of Learning (Johnston 1974), or the Essays (Haight 1942).

Even more fascinating is the array of paratextual apparatus editors use to set up their Atlantis. The only editions to include copies of Rawley's prefatory letter are Jones (1937) and Johnston (1974), though since these editions are not bound with Sylva Sylvarum, parts of the letter's content are confusing and unwittingly misleading. By having other texts precede Atlantis, the material context confuses the sentiment that Rawley expresses that the text is "so near affinity [...] with the preceding Natural History" (Jones 449). The revised order of texts in these editions — in fact, the exclusion of Sylva completely — opens a space for this point of reference to be lost for readers less familiar with Bacon's corpus. This confusion may account for why so many print editions elect to substitute Rawley's address "To the Reader" with their own introductions, which may or may not reference his role in the first publication of New Atlantis or offer justifications for the text's incompleteness. Charles Andrews's Famous Utopias (1901) collection foregoes the letter, and indeed, any mention of Rawley at all; his mention of the publication history obscures its posthumous editorial history, noting instead that "Bacon in the Novus Atlantis, written before 1617 and published in 1627, exhibited a state of which the most striking feature was a college" (iii). This edition seems less interested in historicity since the order of the other texts is not chronological, and the lack of any indication of editorial interference by Rawley compounds the sense that this is a complete text by Bacon, which is further emphasized by the table of contents that represents the work as "Lord Francis Bacon's New Atlantis." A collection combining Bacon, Milton and Thomas Browne (1937), Gordon Haight's Francis Bacon Essays and New Atlantis (1942), and Rose-Mary Sargent's Selected Philosophical Works (1999) all provide their own introduction in lieu of Rawley's letter. For instance, Sargent's preface to New Atlantis acknowledges the circumstances of its printing: "Published by Rawley after Bacon's death in 1627, this work also is incomplete because it was supposed to include an account of the legal and political constitution […] It is complete from the perspective of natural philosophy, however, because Bacon has given a full account of Solomon's House" (Sargent 239). Sargent makes a rhetorical double-step. She admits the text is incomplete, but then defends it for its coherence and perfection, an editorial move that is symptomatic of the impulse to justify the integrity of Bacon's text.

The digital editions of New Atlantis follow a similar pattern of editorial choices: and Perseus do not include Rawley's letter, and though the former mentions Rawley elsewhere on the website, the latter does not. Through the library link on, audiences can access a brief description of the New Atlantis, which includes its "unfinished" state and, under the Sylva, cites that the two texts were originally published together. These pages are difficult to find because they are not directly hyperlinked to the text of New Atlantis itself, however, which makes the information easy to overlook. Project Gutenberg and include identical introductions that supplant the letter to the reader. The introduction notes Rawley's role in the original posthumous printing but does not draw attention to the manuscript's unfinished state. Overall the digital editions seem to similarly obscure Rawley's role as editor and the origins of the New Atlantis as an incomplete text bound after the Sylva Sylvarum to serve a particular purpose. These editions seem to emphasize New Atlantis as an autonomous text, one that must be framed by an editorial voice, but not necessarily Rawley's. And in this process, the context surrounding the text — its posthumous publication, its unfinishedness, its relationship to Sylva — are altered in the text's modern representations, which facilitate readings of the utopia as a coherent text, unique compared to the rest of Bacon's corpus.

Finally, the digital remediations of the work on EEBO has its own consequences, ones perhaps more dire given the archive's academic audience. A search for "sylva sylvarum" results in sixteen copies, printed between 1627 and 1685. Shockingly, six of these do not include the New Atlantis at all. Half of these could have been printed without Atlantis included, though the records give conflicting information: the 1651 copy is labeled as imperfect, and therefore may be missing pages, and a 1635 and a 1639, both located at the Cambridge University Library, are said to include New Atlantis, though it does not appear in the thumbnails. Another three end with the title page of Atlantis, purposefully foregoing its inclusion in the scanned substantiation of Sylva Sylvarum even though their record reflects its presence in the book. Copies from 1627, 1629, and 1631, also in Cambridge University Library, abruptly end with a final thumbnail of the New Atlantis title page, which, depending on which edition a researcher selected, could change how readers understand what the physical book that is being represented actually contains. These digital remediations are other examples of how Atlantis can be divorced from the Sylva. Rather than being obscured completely, whether due to editorial choices in modern collections or through confusing hyperlinks, an alarming proportion of the digital copies do not account for the book concluding with the full text of the New Atlantis, and how this may shape readers' experiences. Instead the utopia is a ghostly presence, flickering in the record but dissipating from the thumbnails of over a third of the digitized copies on EEBO.

Ending Unperfectly

The final lines of New Atlantis end with a generous departure in which the fortunate refugees are imbued with knowledge and the security of a large bounty. This is perhaps a fitting end to signal the reader's departure, too, who may likewise feel fortunately endowed with wisdom and even a sense of increased spiritual wealth after having read of the works and deeds of Bacon's model society. Except that this is not the end. It is the beginning of scientific inquiry and a quest for collaboration, with the hope of inspiring the audience to aspire to such a utopian society. The text itself brings to mind reality's imperfection, and self-reflexively highlights the unperfect nature of the narrative itself, which can only do so much to set forward one man's vision of a model.

Francis Bacon. Sylva sylvarum: or A naturall historie. In ten centuries. 1627. Rare Book Collection, The Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Therefore, we will now turn to a close reading of the final line of New Atlantis in modern editions to consider the perfecting impulse that coincides with a desire to elevate Bacon's works throughout time. We will use the treatment of this line as a barometer to gauge modern comfort with Bacon's humble lack of perfection evidenced throughout his body of work, but particularly in the final line of New Atlantis, which reads, "The rest was not Perfected." Manifestations of the final line in print vary widely, occasionally disappearing altogether. Overwhelmingly print editions elect to conclude the text with brackets and italics, setting apart the line in a way that the original printings do not. Subsequent editors seem to take the line as Rawley's addition and mark the text appropriately; although a probable interpretation (unless Bacon labelled his own fable as incomplete in manuscript), this editorial choice frames the last line as a suggestion rather than an essential component to understanding the narrative, which affects how readers interpret the centrality of this line.

Overall, the print editions modernize spelling and capitalization, alter spacing, and include Rawley's last line in some form, but their nuanced choices suggest differing approaches to representing Bacon's text. In the collection titled Famous Utopias (1901) edited by Charles M. Andrews, the final line is included as, "THE REST WAS NOT PERFECTED." in all capital letters at the bottom of the page. Comparatively, the first edition reads, "The rest was not Perfected." The spatial visualization overall differs from the 1627 edition. The latter portrays the last two paragraphs as separated by a large gutter, while in the 1901 edition, they are joined closely together, leaving the final line only several spaces removed from the rest of the text. This inclusion of the line itself is faithful to Rawley's first edition, but the text of the edition overall is highly formatted, flattening some of the original aesthetic choices of the 1627 New Atlantis such as using italics and a larger font size to identify speech in the narrative. The 1901 edition also regularizes capitalization: Compare "And wee doe also declare Naturall Diuinations of Diseases, Plagues, Swarmes of Hurtfull Creatures, Scarcety, Tempests, Earthquakes, Great Inundations, Cometts, Temperature of the Yeare, and diverse other Things ;" (1927) to "And we do also declare natural divinations of diseases, plagues, swarms of hurtful creatures, scarcity, tempest, earthquakes, great inundations, comets, temperature of the year, and divers other things;" (1901). Beyond "tempest" being made singular in this later edition, the content and punctuation of the text remains the same, but the style has been modernized and regularized, removing Bacon's text several steps from the original edition as well as from the aesthetic markers of early modern print culture. Which makes the final line that much more out of place, with the visual disjuncture marking the last line as an insertion, separate from Bacon's words.

Another edition of Bacon entitled Essays, Advancement of Learning, New Atlantis, and Other Pieces (1937) edited by Richard Foster Jones likewise includes the final line with an important difference: "[THE REST WAS NOT PERFECTED]." Placing the line in brackets is a striking signifier suggesting that the lines are alienated from the text itself, bracketed off to be read separately from the whole of New Atlantis. Interestingly, "tempests" has been restored to its original plural form in this, though the text is aesthetically regularized and modernized in a way similar to Andrews' 1901 edition.

Charles W. Eliot's 1937 collection of Bacon, Milton, and Brown attempts to restore some of the paragraph spacing of much older editions of New Atlantis. Also somewhat more faithfully to early texts, Eliot includes, "[The rest was not perfected.]," using the italics and period but forgoing the capital "P" of the 1627 edition, perhaps minimizing the effect of the final word. However, he elects to keep the brackets, once more suggesting the separateness of imperfection from Bacon's work and its presence as an editorial suggestion. Essays and New Atlantis (1942), edited by Gordon S. Haight, follows suit with, "[The rest was not perfected]," omitting the period from the line.

A review of the final lines of New Atlantis in modern editions discussed below.

Brian Vickers' The Oxford Authors: Francis Bacon (1996) is aesthetically regularized, but it is not clear where some of its other features come from such as the decision not to indent the final paragraph, which is consistent in all other print editions studied. Also unlike the other modern editions, "[The rest was not perfected.]" is included without a blank line between it and the previous paragraph. The text is then closely followed by Magnalia Naturae, which begins on the same page as the final page of New Atlantis. The text of Magnalia does not appear on the same page in the 1627 in any regard but is suggested by a catchword of "MAG-" toward the bottom of the page in the 1639 and 1664 editions. By immediately continuing with the Magnalia and foregoing spatial markers, the line of imperfection is easily missed, and lends a rushed feeling to the reading experience of New Atlantis, encouraging readers to move along rather than meditate on the final line.

The conclusion of New Atlantis in Rose-Mary Sargent's Francis Bacon: Selected Philosophical Works (1999) is perhaps most shocking in its exclusion entirely of Rawley's last line. Sargent mentions the incompleteness in her preface (albeit qualifying this claim in the process), but elects to end New Atlantis with the conclusion of the narrative. The facing page is the "Selected Bibliography," which only furthers the sense of completeness. Without reading this brief paratext, a reader might justifiably miss that the text was published posthumously, and probably never finished, and the edition's construction seems to purposefully encourage this sense of completeness.

Digital editions of the text similarly vary in their representation of the last line from the first printed edition. Like the majority of print editions, Project Gutenberg and bracket "[The rest was not perfected.]" The editors of the Perseus edition supplant Rawley's emendation with their own phrase, "[The manuscript ends here]," though still keeping the brackets to clarify that this is an editorial intervention in the text. Finally, includes the full text, concluding with "[THE REST WAS NOT PERFECTED.]," though this is followed by "[End]." This contradiction, so stark in the text itself, is explained in the preface with the claim that:

The more likely reason the New Atlantis was left incomplete is that, on reviewing what he had written, Bacon would have discovered two things about the book: first, that it really was finished, in effect [...] [and] Secondly, when Bacon realized that Bensalem already had an unwritten constitution he would have perceived immediately that it described a figurehead king who reigned but did not rule. This was implicitly subversive of England's Stuart constitution and better left unarticulated.

For the creators of, the text is complete, though they adhere to the original 1627 printing and follow Rawley's edition, albeit with the brackets of modern print editions. By adding "[End]" afterwards, the editors qualify this emendation, adding a layer of meaning to the original. The formatting of the pages themselves makes this editorial emendation confusing since the preface and the text of the New Atlantis are not clearly hyperlinked, making it difficult to access both sets of material.

In sum, the modern editorial treatment of the final line of New Atlantis, which first appeared in Rawley's edition, varies drastically in spatial and textual presentation and sometimes in its very inclusion. What remains standard is the use of brackets to imply a division between unperfection and what may be seen as Bacon's otherwise paradigmatic work. These editions lessen Rawley's stark editorial intervention. By bracketing or omitting "The rest was not Perfected," this line becomes a suggestion or disappears altogether. Not the words of Bacon, for Bacon's words must be perfect.

The rest is still not Perfected.

These modern editorial choices, which increasingly seek to bracket-off, and sometimes omit or rewrite, Bacon's unperfection are perhaps aftereffects of the posthumous aggrandizement that Bacon and his works received. Catherine Drinker Bowen credits "Bacon's friends [as having] helped to make the legend" of the man, and Rawley features prominently in this process (13). Bowen claims that the chaplain's publications defended Bacon's ideas and championed the Royal Society. Indeed Dr. Rawley's work to immortalize his friend via print may have contributed to his firm establishment as a leading scientific thinker, one who the "Royal Society looked back with some reverence" by the time it was founded in 1660 (11-12). Thomas Sprat states in The History of the Royal Society of London (1667) that he will "onely mention one great Man, who had the true Imagination of the whole extent of this Enterprize [...] and that is, the Lord Bacon. In whose Books there are [...] the best arguments, that can be produc'd for the defence of Experimental Philosophy; and the best directions [...] to promote it," and, if others had not pressured him to supply a history of the Royal Society, "there should have been no other Preface to the History of the Royal Society, but some of his [Bacon's] Writings" (35, 35-6). The frontispiece to this edition prominently places Bacon next to a bust of Charles II, reiterating his centrality to the Royal Society's ethos. Thirty-four years after his death, Francis Bacon is the face of scientific progress.

According to Willard Parker, President of the Bacon Society of America who translated the elegies into English in 1927, "[n]o one can peruse these extraordinary tributes paid to the memory of Francis Bacon […] [without] extolling […] [the] abilities of this many-sided superman" (2, 3). By proclaiming Bacon a "superman" three hundred years later, Parker's edition is an example of the scaffolding Rawley foretold. The voices of Bacon's followers commemorate his life and his achievements in poetry and philosophy. Parker envisions himself continuing this process, aghast that no English verse translation exists and relieved that his work is "spreading the knowledge and appreciation of the great Francis among the rank and file of the people in whose service he labored and to whom he bequeathed the results of his toil" (2). Parker's language assumes a familiarity that is reminiscent of Rawley's intimacy with his friend. Both craft "the great Francis" who made discoveries of knowledge for the benefits of others. What is lost in Parker's introduction, however, is the call for collaboration and continuation that Rawley grappled in balancing with glorifying Bacon's genius.

A similar impetus to exhibit the "superman" that is Francis Bacon might lead an editor to want to leave off a tag at the end of New Atlantis boldly proclaiming its imperfection. This is exactly what Bacon warns against in his Great Instauration when he writes,

But they think they have done some great thing if they do but add and introduce into the existing sum of science something of their own; prudently considering with themselves that by making the addition they can assert their liberty, while they retain the credit of modesty by assenting to the rest. But these mediocrities and middle ways so much praised, in deferring to opinions and customs, turn to the great detriment of the sciences…. Some, indeed, there have been who have gone more boldly to work, and taking it all for an open matter and giving their genius full play, have made a passage for themselves and their own opinions by pulling down and demolishing former ones. And yet all their stir has but little advanced the matter since their aim has been not to extend philosophy and the arts in substance and value, but only to change doctrines and transfer the kingdom of opinions to themselves[.] (quoted in Sargent 71)

He discusses new, young scientists eager to make their mark on the natural historical scene by making a revolutionary, infallibly correct claim about the natural world. In both the field of scientific inquiry and some editorial treatments of Sylva Sylvarum and New Atlantis, there is a spirit of competitiveness, completeness, and correctness that rubs against the grain of Bacon's philosophy of experiment, labor, collaboration, exploration, and progress, a continual state of striving imperfection. Such a self-assurance flies in the face of the humility that comes with self-doubt, the idea that one cannot possibly hope to understand the perfect mind of the Creator.

While we would not be so bold as to claim that we understand the mind of Bacon, we do believe there are ways to (re)mediate his works using Bacon's own philosophical standpoint as a better basis. And in the spirit of Bacon, we ask others to join our collaborative endeavor to restore the unperfection, and to better understand the relationship between Bacon's editorial reception and his evolution as mythic inventor of the scientific method.


[1] For instance, one account of the history of science by Richard G. Olson claims that "Bacon stands as the great prophet of modern science for most of the English-speaking world, because of his eloquent advocacy of the experimental approach to investigating nature" (18).

[2] Our findings are similar to those of Tim William Machan in his investigation of Chaucer's "Works" compiled by Thomas Speght, whose editorial choices set a precedent of Chaucer as England's premier poet.

[3]The line in full reads as "Cedamus Phoebus et moniti meliora sequamur," which roughly translates to "Let us yield to Phoebus and let better advice be followed."

[4] The frontispiece also features Bacon's other titles, including "Vice-Comes SctiAlbani," or Viscount of St. ("Scti" is an abbreviation of Latin "sancti") Albans. The final title listed is "Summi Angliae Cancellarius," referring to his appointment of Lord Chancellor. He was named Baron Verulam and Lord Chancellor in 1618 and Viscount St. Albans in 1621 (Peltonen).

[5] Brutus of Troy is the foundational figure depicted in Nennius' Historia Britonem (c. 9th century) and Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae (c. 1136).

[6] Appollodorus's Bibliotheca (c. 1st-2nd century A.D.), "So journeying through Europe to fetch the kine of Geryon he [Hercules] destroyed many wild beasts and set foot in Libya, and proceeding to Tartessus he erected as tokens of his journey two pillars over against each other at the boundaries of Europe and Libya. But being heated by the Sun on his journey, he bent his bow at the god, who in admiration of his hardihood, gave him a golden goblet in which he crossed the ocean" (Frazer 2.5.10).

[7] According to Spedding, with only one exception, all printed engravings of Bacon are "derived directly or through successive copies from one or other of two originals [...] [o]ne is Simon Pass's print [...u] [and] [t]he other is a portrait by Van Somer" (Spedding xviii). A telling point between the two portraits is the brim of the hat, with Pass's engraving showing the brim curved upward, Somer's downward, as evidenced in the two examples here. Spedding's edition includes Pass's version, and in its digitization Google has given a copy of the same portrait as a cover.

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