Francis Bacon produced his final draft of the New Atlantis around the years 1624-1625. Standing at the threshold of early modern thought, Bacon's text operates at the interstices of its contemporary culture and does indeed signal a desire to 'illuminate all the border-regions that confine upon the circle of our present knowledge'. This book presents a collection of essays that show how the New Atlantis negotiates a variety of contexts, namely literary, philosophical, political, religious and social, in order to achieve this. The narrative begins with a standard literary device. When Bacon wrote the New Atlantis, he clearly had More's Utopia in mind as a model. For all his strictures on the use of language for rhetorical effect, Francis Bacon was thoroughly grounded in the Renaissance art of rhetoric. He consciously drew on his rhetorical skill in his writings, adapting his style as occasion demanded. The New Atlantis is a text about natural philosophy which seems to offer connections at almost every point with moral and political philosophy. The book discusses two forms of natural knowledge that Bacon takes up and develops in the New Atlantis: natural magic, and medicine. The modern project is crucially dependent on two fundamental miracles: the miracle of creation and the miracle of divine revelation. The book also analyses Bacon's representations of colonialism and Jewishness in the New Atlantis has revealed. The New Atlantis raises questions concerning the relationship between censorship and knowledge.
Frantz Fanon's Peau noire, masques blancs (Black Skin, White Masks) was published by the Paris-based publishing house Editions du Seuil in 1952 when Fanon was twenty-seven. This book first develops the theme of the francophone contextualisation of Peau noire by concentrating on the specifically Martinican references in the text which have either been effaced or distorted in subsequent representations of Fanon. By retrieving the specific cultural and historical significance attached to particular linguistic items in the text, the book reveals the unconscious traces of a history which Fanon consciously wants to expunge. It is precisely the question of expunging the past. The book argues that Fanon's desire for a violent rupture with the past and a new beginning rules out the possibility of a Creole conception of Caribbean history and culture associated today with the writers. The book also situates Peau noire in the context of racism in metropolitan France and explores different aspects of Fanon's engagement with Sartre in Peau noire. It focuses specifically on the relationship between anti-Semitism and anti-Black racism, and discusses Fanon's engagement with another of Sartre's texts, 'Orphée noir'. The book further discusses Fanon's engagement with Sartre and the tension between universalism and particularism. Finally, it concentrates on studies of the psychic, existential and political dimensions of racial ideology in Peau noire.