Sidney: The Critical Heritage

By Martin Garrett | Go to book overview

Introduction

PART 1 1577-1650

Early reputation

Sidney drew little public attention to his literary endeavours. Whether his few known remarks on his ‘toyful book’ or ‘idle work’ Arcadia and his enrolment among the poetic ‘paper blurrers’ (No. 2) are examples more of sprezzatura or of religious scruple, in his lifetime only ‘some few of his frends’ 1 read these comments and the manuscript works in question. With the possible exception of the two sonnets that may well be Sidney’s which appeared in Henry Goldwell’s account of The Four Foster Children of Desire in 1581 (Ringler, pp. 345-6, 518-19), he avoided the perceived ‘stigma of print’. 2 The Defence of the Earl of Leicester, with its challenge to the author of Leicester’s Commonwealth, must have been intended for wider circulation. (Print would have seemed particularly inappropriate as a vehicle for the views of a proud ‘Dudley in blood’ (MP, p. 134).) So too, its wide late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century dissemination may suggest, was A Letter to Queen Elizabeth Touching her Marriage with Monsieur (Beal, SiP 181-215). It is these works, rather than poetry and romance, that Sidney’s less intimate circle are most likely to have known if they were aware of any of his writings; he was early renowned, the commendation of Edward Waterhouse (No. 1) suggests, for the readiness of his pen in practical affairs like the defence of his father’s fiscal policies in Ireland. He was also known to his father’s secretary, Edmund Molyneux, for letters including ‘a large epistle to Bellerius a learned divine in verie pure and eloquent Latine’.

Sidney’s poetry, if it is mentioned at all during his lifetime, tends to figure as simply one aspect of the larger construct ‘Sidney’, potential Protestant leader, source of patronage, soldier or military expert. The German scholar Melissus (Paul Schede), hailing ‘Sydnee Musarum inclite cultibus’ in 1577, 3 is as likely to be

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Sidney: The Critical Heritage
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • General Editor’s Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiv
  • Abbreviations xvi
  • Note on the Text xvii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Edward Waterhouse 87
  • 2 - Philip Sidney 88
  • 4 - Edmund Spenser 93
  • Note 94
  • 6 - George Puttenham 96
  • 7 - William Temple 98
  • 8 - Geoffrey Whitney 102
  • 12 - George Whetstone 110
  • 15 - Sir John Harington 115
  • 16 - Thomas Newman 118
  • 18 - Edmund Spenser 127
  • 21 - Thomas Moffet 136
  • 22 - John King 139
  • 24 - Gervase Markham 141
  • 25 - Francis Meres 146
  • Note 147
  • 27 - Ben Jonson 152
  • 29 - Brian Twyne 157
  • 32 - Matthew Gwynne 169
  • 34 - Richard Carew 171
  • 36 - John Day 174
  • Notes 186
  • Note 200
  • 45 - John Donne 211
  • 47 - Upon Sydneis Arcadia 217
  • 48 - Michael Drayton 219
  • 52 - Edmund Waller 227
  • 54 - Richard Lovelace 232
  • 62 - Charles Cotton 259
  • 63 - John Aubrey 260
  • 65 - Edward Phillips 264
  • 66 - Life of Spenser 265
  • 67 - D. Tyndale 266
  • 69 - Anthony Wood 268
  • 70 - ‘j.N.’ 270
  • 71 - D. Stanley 272
  • 72 - Elizabeth Montagu 275
  • 75 - Samuel Johnson 281
  • 76 - ‘philisides’ 283
  • 78 - The History of Argalus and Parthenia 287
  • 79 - The Gentleman’s Magazine 288
  • 80 - Richard Brinsley Sheridan 290
  • 84 - Thomas Zouch 296
  • 85 - The Annual Review and History of Literature for 1808 299
  • 87 - Sir Egerton Brydges 304
  • 89 - William Hazlitt 317
  • 94 - Henry Hallam 335
  • 95 - Isaac D’israeli 337
  • Select Bibliography 350
  • Index 353
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