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Like other volumes of the edition, this one takes its place within a larger chronological plan. But it should be noted that here the chronological principle has been interpreted flexibly and in the light of Bacon's stated plans for his texts, i.e. this is one of a sequence of volumes (IX–XIII) which contains only the works of Bacon's great, unfinished meta-work, the Instauratio magna, and excludes ones of the same period which were not written in fulfilment of that ambitious six-part scheme. The works here excluded will of course appear in other volumes of the edition.

As I have said elsewhere in The Oxford Francis Bacon, the production of a printed book (especially one as complex as this is) is very much a cooperative enterprise and, in this case, one to which many individuals and institutions have contributed.

Many librarians helped me in the work, and in my efforts to put together photocopies and microfilm of exemplars of the printed copy-texts used in the preparation of this volume. Particular thanks are due (yet again) to the staff of the university and college libraries of Cambridge, London, and Oxford, and to the staff of the British Library. I am also deeply indebted to the Folger Shakespeare Library and to the Huntington Library for giving me access to their precious and substantial holdings of Baconiana.

I have received generous grants from the Modern Humanities Research Association, the Bibliographical Society, and the Isaac Newton Trust, as well as timely subventions from the British Academy, to whose portfolio of research projects The Oxford Francis Bacon belongs. The Arts and Humanities Research Council deserves full acknowledgement: it provided the medium-term funding which allowed me to employ first-rate researchers whose work has hastened completion of earlier volumes of this edition and of ones still to come. In connection with institutions, I must once again thank my own college—Queen Mary, University of London—which has furnished me with splendid working conditions, and many brilliant friends and colleagues to advise and support me.

As for individuals, I have already recorded the fact that members of our Editorial Advisory Board have made major contributions to the work, and to the rapid consolidation of our project. I would again have thanked our quondam chairman, the late Professor J. B. Trapp, had not pg viiideath intervened and robbed the project of a scholar whose wisdom and good sense did so much to establish The Oxford Francis Bacon as a going concern. For all kinds of help, advice, and constant support, I am once again very much indebted to Dr Maria Wakely. She has done much to lay the analytical-bibliographical foundations of this volume, and of others in the edition—especially in the collation of copy-text exemplars. She checked repeatedly the computer transcriptions of the copy-texts which served as the basis for the edited texts, and advised on the content of the commentaries. Along with Dr Stephen Pigney, she gave time to the exacting task of checking the volume before it went to press, and to correcting the proofs afterwards. The exacting task of proofreading was also undertaken by Carlo Carabba, Marta Fattori, and Sophie Weeks. Their thoroughness and scholarship has my warmest thanks. Thanks are also due to Janet Norton and Liza Verity of the National Maritime Museum, to Massimo Bianchi, James Binns, Constance Blackwell, David Colclough, Harold Cook, David Gants, Andrew Hadfield, David McKitterick, Randall McLeod, Philip Ogden, Richard Serjeantson, and Charles Webster. Without the support and encouragement of people associated with Oxford University Press this volume would have been much the poorer. In particular Andrew McNeillie has given unstintingly of his patience, knowledge, and wholehearted support.


  • Queen Mary,
  • University of London,
  • September 2007

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