Poetry’s defences
in The sense of early modern writing
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This chapter focuses on conceptualisations of the relation between literature, aesthetics, history and philosophy as a way of tying together both modern theoretical explorations in Sir Philip Sidney's A Defence of Poetry. Early in her book on early modern defences of poetry, Margaret Ferguson notes that 'the defense as a form calls attention to the existence of rhetorical motives'. Following Kenneth Burke, however, Ferguson also notes that it is very easy to misread such motives unless one pays attention to the particular rhetorical form employed by a writer, whatever the title of a text may lead the reader to believe. Both the modern sense of literature's hollowing out of aesthetic categories, and Sidney's concession of the ground of poetry's truth to its competing disciplines of philosophy and history, lead to the same conclusion.

The sense of early modern writing

Rhetoric, poetics, aesthetics

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