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New article: Francis Bacon and the Hero Archetype (draft)


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Abstract

This article explores features of the heroic archetype or “monomyth” in the biography of Sir Francis Bacon, working from the 22-point list developed by Lord Raglan. Beginning with the latter half of the list, we find several points of correspondence, then turn to the first half, beginning with the hero is born to a royal virgin, presenting evidence in support of the long-held conjecture that Bacon was the son of Elizabeth I (the virgin queen) and Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester. I argue that at some point after learning of his true origin, Bacon formed a conception of the heroic archetype, based on his knowledge of mythology, with which he personally identified. If true, this is critical for understanding the genesis of Bacon’s grand projects, and hence the modern era; in the words of Albert Schweitzer, “Bacon drafted the programme of the modern world view.” Part of that world view entails the opposition of science and religion; Bacon is partly responsible for the split, and I will argue he is the only person who can resolve it, for as he wrote, “Man by the Fall fell at the same time from the state of innocence and from his dominion over creation. Both of these losses, however, can even in this life be in some part repaired; the former by religion and Faith, the latter by arts and sciences.”

Bacon_and_the_hero_archetype.pdf

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