Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted …

A favorite quote on reading, from Francis Bacon (1561-1626):

Crafty men condemn studies; simple men admire them; and wise men use them: for they teach not their own use: but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man. And therefore if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not.

Frans Pourbus, Sir Francis Bacon, 1617

Frans Pourbus, Sir Francis Bacon, 1617 (image: Wikipedia)

Another favorite quote from Bacon:

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est. (Knowledge itself is power.)

More quotes from Bacon here.

On my reading list

About Dianne L. Durante

I’m an independent scholar and freelance writer /lecturer on art and art history, with forays into food, history, politics, and publishing. My most recent projects are *Innovators in Sculpture¸* a survey of 5,000 years of art in two hours, and *Monuments of Manhattan,* a videoguide app by Guides Who Know that’s based on my book *Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide.*

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