Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, authorship, wordprint


In an earlier study that identified previously unrecognized writings of the young 15 Thomas Hobbes, questions were raised about the authorship of some of Francis Bacon’s published works. This article reports a follow-up study in which two independent statistical analyses of Bacon’s English works both conclude that, whereas Bacon’s autographic writings show clearly that they are authored by the same person; almost none of his published works can be matched statistically 20 with the autographs. The most likely explanation for this dramatic finding is that Bacon’s well-known reliance on secretaries may have been sufficiently extensive that his writing patterns are obscured or replaced by theirs. This finding suggests a far simpler explanation for a wide array of anomalies in Bacon’s works than others have offered. The study further identifies some of Bacon’s works written 25 during a period when Thomas Hobbes was his secretary, which match Hobbes’s writing pattern.

Original Publication Citation

“Who Wrote Bacon? Assessing the respective roles of Francis Bacon and his secretaries in the production of his English Works,” Literary and Linguistic Computing 2012, doi: 10.1093/llc/fqs020,

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Literary and Lingistic Computing, Oxford University Press




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Political Science

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor