Article ID: CBB423678923

The Development of Francis Bacon's Practical Instructions on the Prolongation of Life (2022)


This study investigates the development of Francis Bacon's practical ideas to maintain good health and live a long life. His inquiry into practical medical recipes began early in his life. His collection of recipes in "Memoriae valetudinis", from his private notebook, Commentarius solutus (1608), is a result of this inquiry. This collection includes sixteen short recipes, in which two types of practices, namely, the use of drinks and external medicines are prominent. Focusing on these topics, this study compares specific practical instructions from this early text and his later and mature works, such as Historia vitae et mortis (1623). It is argued that despite a complete reshaping of his theoretical ideas between the 1600s and the 1620s, the practical aspects remained relatively unchanged. However, he might have continuously revised these recipes and added new meaning to them as his theoretical ideas developed. It seems that Bacon's practical instructions resulted from the interplay among traditional hygiene, other intellectual milieus, his theoretical consideration, and his personal experience.

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Authors & Contributors
Jalobeanu, Dana
Snively, Samantha
Wang, Xiaona
Erin Kathleen Kelly
Susan North
Begley, Justin
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Llull: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas
Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
History of European Ideas
Springer Nature
University of California, Davis
Palgrave Macmillan
Oxford University Press
Manchester University Press
Formulas; recipes
Experiments and experimentation
Natural philosophy
Cooking and cuisine
Bacon, Francis, 1st Baron Verulam
Harvey, William
Locke, John
Della Porta, Giovan Battista
Willis, Thomas
Sydenham, Thomas
Time Periods
17th century
16th century
18th century
19th century
University of Nottingham

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