Writing after Sidney: The Literary Response to Sir Philip Sidney, 1586-1640

Writing after Sidney: The Literary Response to Sir Philip Sidney, 1586-1640

Writing after Sidney: The Literary Response to Sir Philip Sidney, 1586-1640

Writing after Sidney: The Literary Response to Sir Philip Sidney, 1586-1640

Synopsis

Writing After Sidney examines the literary response to Sir Philip Sidney (1554-86), author of the Arcadia, Astrophil and Stella, and The Defence of Poesy, and the most immediately influential writer of the Elizabethan period. It does so by looking closely both at Sidney and at four writers who had an important stake in his afterlife: his sister Mary Sidney, his brother Robert Sidney, his best friend Fulke Greville, and his niece Mary Wroth. At the same time as these authors wrote their own works in response to Sidney they presented his life and writings to the world, and were shaped by other writers as his literary and political heirs. Readings of these five central authors are embedded in a more general study of the literary and cultural scene in the years after Sidney's death, examining the work of such writers as Spenser, Jonson, Daniel, Drayton, and Herbert. The study uses a wide range of manuscript and printed sources, and key use is made of perspectives from Renaissance literary theory, especially Renaissance rhetoric. The book aims to come to a better understanding of the nature of Sidney's impact on the literature of the fifty or so years after his death in 1586; it also aims to improve our understanding both of Sidney and of the other writers discussed by developing a more nuanced approach to the questions of imitation and example so central to Renaissance literature. It thereby adds to the general store of our understanding of how writing of the English Renaissance offered examples to later readers and writers, and of how it encountered and responded to such examples itself.

Excerpt

I could hardly writ…ook like this and not be acutely conscious of the many debt…we to friends, family members, and colleagues, or mindful of how influential even the most casual conversations can turn out to be. Perhap…ouldn't have been drawn t…iterary family if my own family hadn't been so crowded with extraordinary people. For their love, support, and example…m deeply grateful. My research has taken me to the British Library in London, the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, and the Newberry Library in Chicago, an…m grateful to the staff of those libraries for their help. But the book has been principally researched and written within the intellectual community and the libraries of the University of Cambridge, an…w…reat debt to the many teachers, colleagues, friends, and librarians not named below. My first home in Cambridge was Caius College, and much of my early work was done in its marvellous Library…lace where I have had more than my share of serendipity. My longest-standing debt is to my brilliant teachers at Caius, John Casey, Jeremy Prynne (who also ran that Library), and especially Colin Burrow, who went on to b…ise supervisor of my doctoral work…aster's course ha…uge impact on the wa…ork and the kinds of question I ask. My teachers on the course—especially Marie Axton, Anne Barton, John Kerrigan, and Jeremy Maule—offere…ormidable challenge to my ways of thinking; they subsequently became colleagues, an…m deeply grateful for their example and support. the first phase of my research was completed a…esearch Fellow at Caius, an…emain profoundly indebted to the Master and Fellows of that College for all they have done for me…iatus coincided wit…usy few years establishing myself a…ecturer in the Faculty of English an…ellow at Christ's College…m grateful to the academic and administrative staff of both institutions for the support that enabled me to keep my eye on what still had to be done. and the ahrc made completing this book possible wit…esearch Leave award in 2003. the help of David Colclough, Katrin Ettenhuber, and Hester Lees-Jeffries has been vital. Other friends and colleagues who have shared work, ideas, or good advice, or offered much appreciated support and encouragement are Sylvia Adamson, Richard Axton, Kate Bennett, Joseph Black, Ian . . .

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