Richard James Wood
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‘Think nature me a man of arms did make’?
Conflicted conflicts in Astrophil and Stella and the New Arcadia
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The martial adventures of the New Arcadia have produced a good deal of critical opinion about what such knightly escapades might suggest about Sidney’s political philosophy. Sidney’s position, as a well-connected courtier who opposed Elizabeth’s marriage to Anjou and who favoured a more active foreign policy in defence of the Protestant religion, provides a ready point of departure for such discussions. In this chapter, I engage with the strand of critical thought that finds there to be a mismatch between the chivalric ethos of the New Arcadia and Sidney’s real-world political ambitions. The particular moral outlook that I have attributed to Sidney in previous chapters and the figure of Amphialus are again useful in resolving this critical issue.

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