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

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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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199285471
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 2/8/2007
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Gavin Alexander is a University Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of English, a Fellow of Christ's College,
where he teaches English, and the Fellow Librarian of the College Library. He works on literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Other research interests include poetry and music, rhetoric, the history of versification, the history of literary criticism, and textual studies. In 2008 he was awarded a Pilkington Prize by the University of Cambridge for excellence in teaching, and he organised the John Milton 400th Anniversary Celebrations.

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Table of Contents

1. Philip Sidney: Dialogue and Incompletion
2. Elegies and Legacies
3. Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke: The Last Word
4. Families and Friends
5. Robert Sidney: Finding and Making
6. Lyric After Sidney
7. Fulke Greville: Life After Sidney
8. Versions of Arcadia
9. Mary Wroth: The Constant Art

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