To Ben Jonson, actor, playwright and first Poet Laureate, Francis Bacon, his contemporary, was "one of the greatest men, and most worthy of admiration, that had been in many ages." To another poet, Alexander Pope, he was "the greatest genius that England (or perhaps any country) ever produced." Yet, in 1880, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, "We do not know half enough about Lord Bacon. . . ."
And so it is that for more than a century The Francis Bacon Society has dedicated itself to perpetuating Bacon's name through a study of his life and works and of his influence on his own and succeeding generations -- as statesman, playwright, poet, philosopher, scientist, historian and jurist. The product of these researches, by those such as Daphne du Maurier, Dr. Frances Yates, Jean Overton Fuller, Alfred Dodd, Pierre Henrion, Professor Trevor-Roper and many others, is to be found in the Society's annual publication, Baconiana, first published in 1886.
Was Bacon the "one and true inventor" of the Shakespeare plays? Was he the son of Queen Elizabeth? How did Bacon use cypher? What was his influence on the Rosicrucian and Masonic movements? Was he truly as virtuous as his contemporaries supposed or was he a corrupt judge? These are just some of the questions which, over the years, contributors to Baconiana have addressed. All students of the Elizabethan and Stuart periods will find here a wealth of interest and learning in Bacons world of creative genius, Bacon's own and that of the characters who are part of his story; poets like Jonson and William Herbert, magi's like John Dee, statesman like Burleigh and Cecil, favorites like Essex and Villiers, lawyers like Coke and Ellesmere, court ladies like Mary Fitton (the "dark lady" of the Sonnets?) and adventurers like Raleigh. All these and more are explored in this unique and historically compelling collection of essays from Victorian times to the present in Baconiana.