Sidney: The Critical Heritage

By Martin Garrett | Go to book overview

72.

Elizabeth Montagu

1742

Elizabeth Robinson (1720-1800) married the wealthy Edward Montagu (cousin of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s son, Edward) in August 1742. She was later famous as a leading ‘blue-stocking’ and literary hostess, and the author of An Essay on the Genius and Writings of Shakespeare (1769). Arcadia seems to have been a frequent topic of semi-serious conversation and entertainment in the circles in which she moved, especially among the women (as in the days of Anne Clifford). These included Montagu’s correspondent Mary Pendarves (later Mrs Delany, 1700-88): in 1740, ‘I have laid aside the Arcadia till Mrs. Pendarves comes, who is so fond of it, and …she shall read it to us’ (Elizabeth Montagu, Queen of the Blue-Stockings, Her Correspondence from 1740 to 1761, ed. Emily J. Climenson, London, 1906, vol. 1, p. 56). Many years later, in 1774, Pendarves was still adopting the same tone as her friend where Sidney was concerned, so often using ‘delight’ and its cognates in describing her joy in seeing a friend’s children that ‘Sir Phillip Sidney in his Arcadia cannot be more guilty of reiteration!’ (The Autobiography and Correspondence of Mary Granville, Mrs Delany, ed. Lady Llanover, Second Series, London, 1862, vol. 2, p. 64). Sidney’s is no longer ‘the language of the heart’.


Letter to Mary Pendarves, 16 August 1742, in The Autobiography and Correspondence of Mary Granville, Mrs Delany, ed. Lady Llanover, First Series, London, 1861, vol. 2, pp. 191-2.

After breakfast we employ ourselves as you imagine; we are reading Sir Philip Sidney’s famous Romance, which is far exceeding the exceedingness of the most exceeding imagination, as if, the things of which he spoke exceeded all imagination, or the imagination with which he wrote, exceeded all things; so much more excellent are the things of which he writes as that the things which he writes are far exceeding all other excellence, for art therein does borrow the appearance of nature, and nature the excellence of art, so the eye

-275-

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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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