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The Making of Sir Philip Sidney

The Making of Sir Philip Sidney

Copyright Date: 1998
Pages: 258
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  • Book Info
    The Making of Sir Philip Sidney
    Book Description:

    Sir Philip Sidney is one of the most popular and enduring of Elizabethan authors. This book explores how Sidney created himself as a poet by 'making' representations of himself in the roles of some of his most literary creations.

    Disclaimer: Figure 2 removed at the request of the rights holder.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5978-0
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Sidney’s Life: A Brief Chronology
    (pp. xv-2)
  5. 1 Imitation and Identity
    (pp. 3-27)

    Although English autobiography did not emerge as a genre until the seventeenth century, an autobiographical impulse characterizes many writers of the Tudor period. The impulse appears not in the form of sustained and purportedly truthful accounts of individual lives, as in later autobiographies, but in the form of narrative or poetic fragments that mix biography and fiction. Thomas More, for example, includes himself among the characters of theUtopia; Spenser assumes the role of Colin Clout inThe Shephearde’s CalenderandThe Faerie Queene, and celebrates his own marriage in the ‘Epithalamion’; Lyly identifies himself with Euphues inThe Anatomy...

  6. 2 Friend to Hubert Languet
    (pp. 28-48)

    As part of his training for a public role, Sidney was expected to travel on the Continent, furthering his knowledge of languages, developing contacts among his Continental peers, and acquiring an understanding of political affairs that would advance his career as a statesman. Such travels were conventional among young Elizabethan aristocrats and gentlemen. The roughly three years that Sidney spent abroad are important for many reasons: they encouraged his commitment to court service; they enhanced his expectations of a major future role; they took place at a crucial time in his development, the transitional phase between adolescence and adulthood; and...

  7. 3 Self-Portrayals at Court, 1575–9
    (pp. 49-62)

    From the time of his return to England in May 1575 until his ‘exile’ from court in the autumn of 1579, Sidney devoted himself to the role of courtier. In the summer of 1575 he participated in Leicester’s lavish entertainments for the queen at Kenilworth, and he may have begun his career as a tilter before the queen at Woodstock in September. He sought military service abroad throughout this period, seizing every opportunity to press his claims upon such a role. He participated in his father’s Irish affairs, representing him in England, travelling briefly to Ireland, and writing a defence...

  8. 4 Philisides in Exile: The Old Arcadia
    (pp. 63-101)

    In the autumn of 1579 Sidney withdrew from court. The immediate occasion for his withdrawal was tension in his relationship with the queen, resulting from his opposition to her proposed marriage with Anjou and his recalcitrance in the Oxford affair. In both cases he had challenged the royal prerogative – in the one by opposing a marriage that the queen had set her mind on, in the other by forgetting the behaviour appropriate to his place in the social hierarchy. Although not exactly banished from court, Sidney was in disfavour, and he himself had grown increasingly frustrated with his lack of...

  9. 5 Astrophil and the Comedy of Love
    (pp. 102-141)

    Astrophil and Stellarepays attention of many kinds. The sequence offers a sustained and creative experiment in metrical and poetic forms, a sophisticated exploration of the wide-ranging emotions of love, witty meditations upon the nature of love poetry, an engaging and richly human pair of lovers, and a subtle narrative design. However one defines its success, the most striking and challenging feature of Astrophil and Stella, one that must be acknowledged in any account of the work, is its radically innovative treatment of persona. As S.K. Heninger, Jr, observes, in contrast to ‘the usual circumstance of amorous lyrics, where the...

  10. 6 The Poet as Warrior: A Defence of Poetry
    (pp. 142-162)

    Like other great works of Renaissance intellectual history – Bacon’sAdvancement of Learning, for example, or Machiavelli’sPrince– Sidney’sDefence of Poetrycontinues to live not so much through the validity of its arguments as through the vitality of its prose. Emerson’s comment on Montaigne’sEssaies, ‘cut these words, and they would bleed,’ captures what we often feel in the presence of such language, that the energy from which it flows is as much imaginative as intellectual and drawn from deep within the whole person. To understand and appreciate this kind of imaginative energy, one must go beyond the traditional questions...

  11. 7 Philisides in Andromana’s Court: The New Arcadia
    (pp. 163-191)

    In Book II of theNew Arcadia, Pyrocles, wooing the princess Philoclea by narrating his adventures, tells her the story of his imprisonment at the Iberian court. While describing the tournament during which he and Musidorus make their escape, he digresses from his own exploits to recount a brief episode involving a young Iberian knight whose ‘manner’ he found gready pleasing. The youth in his story is Sidney’s self-representation, Philisides, who participates in the tournament as a shepherd-knight. His fanfare is provided by bagpipes instead of trumpets; his page is a shepherd’s boy; his attendants, also shepherds, carry lances that...

  12. 8 The Autobiographical Impulse: Conclusions
    (pp. 192-212)

    This study began by asking why Sidney might have been so preoccupied with the creation of literary personas. In chapter 1 we examined various biographical and cultural forces that contributed to such a preoccupation, including, most significantly, the sense of vocational crisis that continued throughout Sidney’s career and the doctrine of imitation that shaped so profoundly both educational and literary practice in the period. Having explored in later chapters the way in which these forces play themselves out in Sidney’s career, with particular attention to the letters to Languet, theOld Arcadia, Astrophil and Stella, A Defence of Poetry,and...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 213-236)
  14. Index
    (pp. 237-241)