Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790

[Mentioned in Science and Health, pp. 100, 245, and in Miscellaneous Writings, p. 277]

Underlying Franklin's diverse accomplishments is a remarkable continuity of interest and effort. His interest in public affairs began in Boston, when, as a boy, he served as a printer's apprentice to his brother, who started the fifth newspaper in America. Franklin's first writing was done at this time. Later, in Philadelphia, he published his own newspaper and brought out "Poor Richard's Almanack."

Franklin was largely self-taught. Reading as widely as possible, he tried to imitate the styles he most admired. To increase his fluency, he put prose passages into poetry and then translated them back into his own prose. The clarity and directness of style he thus gained were useful to him when he wished to write up his electrical experiments and scientific observations. These same elements of style characterize his "Autobiography."

Signs of the Times
January 11, 1958

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