Saturday, March 12, 2022

"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested."-- Explain.

This sentence is from Bacon's essay 'Of Studies'. Here Bacon tells us how different types of books are to be studied. He compares the different methods of studying to the different ways in which we eat different types of food. Some food we merely taste without swallowing it completely. Likewise, some books are to be tasted, i.e., not studied seriously and intensively. Story books, detective novels (a type which did not exist in Bacon's time) are to be read light heartedly to derive some pleasure from them. These books are like pickle, tart and chutney. They taste good but as food they have no great value and cannot fill our stomach and nourish our body.

Some other books are of greater value. A book on geography or a reference book like an encyclopedia has to be studied with greater care and attention for they are often useful to us. Bacon compares this type of books with foods that are to be swallowed.

But the really important books e.g., the books of permanent value e.g., the works of Shakespeare, the classics, are to be read with great care and attention. We shall have to enter deep within the work to appreciate the author's contribution. Such books as the Bible or the Gita are full of moral and spiritual values which cannot be fully understood by reading them only once. They have, in the language of Bacon, to be chewed and digested, their lessons have to become an integral part of our intellectual and moral fabric.

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