Francis Bacon

Viscount, St. Alban

1561 - 1626

Evidence within the Shakespearean plays indicates that the author was educated, knew the law, was a member of court, a statesman, an expert on classical mythology, and widely traveled in the courts of Europe. Some believe that Francis Bacon was all of these as he deliberately followed the ancient path of using drama for educational purposes in order to lead people to self-knowledge.

He attended Trinity College (at the University of Cambridge) from 1573 at the age of 12 to 1575. Bacon completed his law degree in 1582, and in 1588 he was named lecturer in legal studies at Gray's Inn. In the meantime, he was elected to Parliament in 1584. He travelled extensively in Europe, and served for decades on Queen Elizabeth’s and King James’ councils. He became both Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England.

 

Of the many works of this philosopher, jurist, essayist, translator, scientist and scholar, the best known are "The Advancement of Learning" and "The New Atlantis". Upon his death in 1626, eulogies were written, collected, and published in his honor by 32 scholars (University Fellows and members of the Inns of Court) crediting Bacon for his talents as a concealed poet and for uniting philosophy and drama.

In 1867, a document that was to become one of the most valuable regarding the authorship riddle was discovered. The “Northumberland Manuscript”, found in the house of the Duke of Northumberland contains 22 sheets of notes from 1596, where Bacon’s name is listed along with Shakespeare’s, several times.

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