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Sir Philip Sidney and the Poetics of Protestantism

Sir Philip Sidney and the Poetics of Protestantism: A Study of Contexts

Andrew D. Weiner
Copyright Date: 1978
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Sir Philip Sidney and the Poetics of Protestantism
    Book Description:

    Sir Philip Sidney and the Poetics of Protestantism was first published in 1978. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. In this study of the important Elizabethan writer and critic, Sir Philip Sidney, Professor Weiner examines the impact of the Reformation on traditional medieval and humanist ideas of the nature and function of poetry, taking Sidney as an exemplar of the transformation of both theory and practice that occurred. He offers a new reading of Sidney’s Old Arcadia, placing it in the context of Elizabethan theology and politics. In the process he also offers a new reading of Sidney’s Defence of Poesie, a major classic of English literary criticism. Professor Weiner shows how the latter work may be read as a virtual manifesto for a literary movement based on an emphatically Protestant outlook on questions of religious faith._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3852-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
    (pp. v-xiv)
    A. D. W.
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xv-2)
  4. CHAPTER 1 ʺThe knowledge of a manʹs self, in the ethic and politic considerationʺ: The Sidney Milieu
    (pp. 3-50)

    Although recent studies of Sidney and his works have begun to dispel the romantic image of the courtier-lover-poet that was for so long an obstacle to the understanding of his works, no clear and consistent portrait of the man in the context of his times has yet fully emerged to take its place.² Sidney, as James M. Osborn’s recent biography of his formative years confirms, was not raised to be a poet, but a statesman; and his conception of statecraft was dependent upon his conception of man’s purpose in life, a conception which was in turn informed by his adherence...

  5. CHAPTER 2 ʺNotable images of vertues, vices, or what elseʺ: The Characters
    (pp. 51-100)

    Sidney’sOld Arcadiawas largely written during the height of the political crisis precipitated by Queen Elizabeth’s seeming determination to marry the Duke of Anjou. Against all of the objections advanced by the Leicester-Walsingham faction in the Privy Council, by Sidney in his letter to the Queen, and by Stubbs in his pamphlet, Elizabeth asserted her love for Monsieur, a love which appeared to outweigh all “rational” political and religious considerations.² The pessimism generated in the Sidney circle by Elizabeth’s insistence upon continuing the marriage negotiations is reflected in theOld Arcadia, as we have seen, where Sidney is more...

  6. CHAPTER 3 ʺUnder hidden formsʺ: The Eclogues
    (pp. 101-146)

    If love, as Sidney’s narrator suggests at the end of the First Eclogues,¹ “is better than a pair of spectacles to make everything seem greater which is seen through it” (p. 88), it can also provide the occasion for setting up a glass in which we may see a diminished picture of ourselves. In theOld Arcadia’s four sets of eclogues we can see both impulses at work: in the eclogues of Pyrocles, Musidorus, Philisides, Agelastus, Strephon, and Klaius, love produces a magnification of the beloved that demands (and usually attempts) a reordering of the universe around a new divinity....

  7. CHAPTER 4 ʺSo evil a ground doth evil stand uponʺ: The Structure
    (pp. 147-186)

    Like Ralegh’s poem, Sidney’s “stage play of love” (p. 54) takes a rather dim view of the human comedy, perhaps even more so since in this work the characters are not even allowed the dignity of dying “in earnest”—the “lest” continues even there. Unfortunately, much of Sidney’s comic view of man has been lost by critics intent upon ignoring or dismissing his “simplistic Terentian five-act structure” so that they might discuss the structure of his “romance.”² If, as I have suggested, we are in fact dealing with a sophisticated attempt to use the accepted formal structure for a dramatic...

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 189-220)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 223-227)