The mysterious island: Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis

New Atlantis was published posthumously in 1626 or 1627 as a second part of a volume entitled Sylva Sylvarum or a natural historie in ten centuries. Soon it became a bestseller. To date, it has been impossible to establish how many editions of this volume were printed in the seventeenth century. We know of two Latin translations, a French translation and at least a dozen of English editions. Bacon’s Sylva (and hence the New Atlantis ) was the book that everybody read, in London, in Paris, in Amsterdam – in fact, across the whole Europe. It spoke directly and convincingly to a large and diverse audience, cutting across national, confessional and philosophical divides.