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

By Gavin Alexander | Go to book overview

4
Families and Friends

This chapter looks at the network of aristocratic men and women who had Philip Sidney in common. They were poets and patrons, and they were engaged in court politics; and they were observed and written about by those writers who lacked independent means and were after their money or help towards preferment. Those writers created an analogous network of more literary representations of these men and women, and in that heightened, literary, version of reality, the image of Sidney had far more importance and value. He might only serve a…entle reminder of common ground i…etter. But i…oem or dedicatory epistle he was far larger than life.

The Anglo-Dutch diplomat Daniel Rogers was one of the first to court the Sidneys in verse. He wrote numerous Latin poems to Sidney and to members of his family, including his father, uncle, brother, and sister.1 He shows us the attractiveness of such an extensive yet close-knit family network to someone seeking influential friends or employment. The Sid- neys always had this going for them—that any one of them might serve synecdochically as the sign o…arge and powerful court tribe: Philip Sidney's uncles included the Earls of Leicester, Warwick, and—through marriage—Sussex; his brother-in-law was the Earl of Pembroke. For a man like Spenser, employment with the Earl of Leicester had the added bonus of 'some use of familiarity' from Sidney and Dyer when they were at Leicester House.2 His dedication of The Shepheardes Calender to Sidney in 1579 would have bee…ood way of pleasing his employer as well a…ribute t…otential or actual patron, and will have helped

1 Those to Sidney and Robert Sidney are gathered and discussed in Jan van Dorsten, Poets, Patrons, and Professors: Sir Philip Sidney, Daniel Rogers, and the Leiden Humanists (Leiden and London, 1962), and those to other family members in Roger Kuin and Anne Lake Prescott, 'Versifying Connections: Daniel Rogers and the Sidneys', Sidney Journal, 18.2 (2000), 1–35.

2 The phrase comes from the Spenser–Harvey correspondence, printed in 1580; text in Elizabethan Critical Essays, ed. G. G. Smith…ols. (Oxford, 1904), 1.89.

-128-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Illustrations xi
  • Note on Spelling, References, and Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction xix
  • 1 - Dialogue and Incompletion 1
  • 2 - Elegies and Legacies 56
  • 3 - the Last Word 76
  • 4 - Families and Friends 128
  • 5 - Finding and Making 149
  • 6 - Lyric after Sidney 193
  • 7 - Life after Sidney 220
  • 8 - Versions of Arcadia 262
  • 9 - A Constant Art 283
  • Postscript 332
  • Bibliography 339
  • Index 363
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