The aim of this blog is to serve as a meeting point to those who study or have studied English philology and, more broadly, to all those who love literature and language.

22 Oct 2008


Some time ago, in this same blog, I wonder whether the culture makes us better human beings or not. Well, yesterday Francis Bacon came in my help, adding a little more weight to the side of the balance in which lie the arguments in favor of “No, culture isn´t going to improve your already rotten soul!”
Reading the biography of Bacon, this 17-century outstanding intellectual, philosopher and politician, I learned that he was convicted of taking bribes in 1621 and he had to spend time in the Tower of London.
Bacon was a true learned man, I mean that culture and his name come together. Some encyclopedias even put his portrait besides the entry ‘culture’. Don’t forget that for some scholars this man was the real author of Shakespeare’s plays. In the other hand, taking bribes is a bad thing, no matter what politicians say. So we might conclude that culture didn’t help to make him a better person.
But Bacon’s troubles with the law teach us something else about what culture doesn’t do for us. When he was accused of being bribed, he defended himself alleging that although it was true that he had been taking bribes, this didn’t affect his judgment.
So, here it is: culture not only won’t make you a better person; it won’t make you smarter, either!


  1. Oh well, as I told my students yesterday, the system was inherently corrupt—an accusation of corruption meant simply that your enemies were more powerful than yourself. Fortunately, like Bob Dylan says, "things have changed".

  2. And I forgot, oops, you say "for some scholars this man was the real author of Shakespeare's plays" - please don't call them SCHOLARS!
    Bacon was busy enough writing his own works.

  3. I´ve just got my degree last summer, to me almost everyone is a scholar! Thanks for the point, anyway.
    Juan F.