The Sound of Virtue: Philip Sidney's Arcadia and Elizabethan Politics

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Overview

Written around 1580, Philip Sidney's Arcadia is a romance, a love story, a work of wit and enchantment set in an ancient and mythical land. But, as Blair Worden now startlingly reveals, it is also a grave and urgent commentary on Elizabethan politics. Under the protective guise of pastoral fiction, Sidney produced a searching reflection on the misgovernment of Elizabeth I and on the failings of monarchy as a system of government. Blair Worden reconstructs the dramatic events amidst which the Arcadia was composed and shows for the first time how profound is their presence in it. The Queen's failure to resist the Catholic advance at home and abroad, and her apparent resolve to marry the Catholic heir to the French throne, seemed likely to bring tyranny and persecution to England. Her policies provoked a radical political dissent which historians and literary critics have missed, and of which the Arcadia is the most penetrating and eloquent expression. The Sound of Virtue combines, in a manner and on a scale never before attempted, the close analysis of a literary text with the scholarly reconstruction of its historical context. It transforms our understanding of Sidney's masterpiece and offers a new approach to the relationship between the history and literature of the Renaissance.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300066937
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.56 (w) x 9.53 (h) x 1.56 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
The Principal Characters (The Old Arcadia)
Synopsis (The Old Arcadia)
Preface
1 Teaching and Delight 3
2 Virtue and Religion 23
3 Sidney's Loyalties 41
4 An Unelected Vocation 58
5 A Losing Cause 71
6 The Anjou Match 89
7 Standing Alone 115
8 Three Crises of Counsel 127
9 The Reign of Basilius 146
10 Mary Queen of Scots 172
11 The Death of Basilius 184
12 Monarchal Dissipations 209
13 Forms of Government 227
14 History Lessons 253
15 On Ister Bank 266
16 Resistance 281
17 Falling in Love 297
18 Public and Private Respects 320
19 Causeless Yieldings 341
App. A Greville, Sidney and the Two Arcadias 355
App. B Sir John Hayward and the Old Arcadia 370
App. C Philisides' Fable 372
Bibliography 377
Index 387
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