This week sees the penultimate instalment of the Bizarre Author Deaths series.
Sir Francis Bacon
Notable works: Novum Organum, De augmentis, Nova Atlantis
Sir Francis Bacon was an English philosopher, scientist, statesman, orator, essayist and author. A highly successful career saw the multi-talented Bacon serve as both Attorney General and Lord Chancellor. Today Bacon is remembered as an important figure in scientific methodology and natural philosophy. His accolades include being widely accepted as the creator of empiricism, in addition to establishing popularised inductive methodologies for scientific inquiry, often referred to as the Baconian method.
Sixty-five year old Bacon purportedly met his demise when travelling in his carriage in the midst of a snowstorm in Highgate, it occurred to him that snow would be an ideal way to preserve and insulate meat. He immediately purchased a gutted chicken and attempted to prove his theory by stuffing the bird with snow. Unfortunately these actions resulted in pneumonia, and as he was too ill to return to his residence, he retired to the Earl of Arundel’s house in Highgate where he perished several days later.
(February 26th 1564 – May 30th 1593)
Notable works: Edward the Second, Hero and Leander, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
Poet, translator and dramatist Christopher Marlowe was the most famous tragedian of his time. His popular plays influenced a host of playwrights, including William Shakespeare. Little is known about the private life of this famous proponent of blank verse, a form of poetry that utilises a regular metrical form with unrhymed lines.
To this day the exact circumstances surrounding Marlowe’s death remain a mystery. The renowned playwright met his premature demise at the age of twenty-nine when he was stabbed with a knife by companion Ingram Frizer. The official story is that an argument broke out over a drinks bill, resulting in Marlowe attacking Frizer with a knife, only to be disarmed and despatched with a single thrust of the blade to the eye. Some have argued that the playwright’s death was in fact a political assassination, perhaps related to his work as a spy, whilst others claim it was because Marlowe was deemed a danger to the state, due to his reputed atheistic beliefs.
Click here to read Part V.