The most distinguished tragedies for reading, or
‘closet dramas’, of the period emerged from the Pembroke
circle in the 1590s. The Countess of Pembroke herself translated the
Marc Antoine of the French neoclassical dramatist RobertGarnier.
The Sidney circle, with their strong commitment to Protestant virtue,
were deeply committed to an image of Elizabeth as noble Roman, not
of the Psalms, like his revised romance, remained unfinished at his death. The Countess of Pembroke completed what Sidney had begun, and the Sidney Psalter, together with the countess’s other works, including her translations of RobertGarnier’s drama Marc Antoine and Philippe Duplessis-Mornay’s Discours de la mort et de la vie , provide an important context for my discussion of Sidney’s philosophy. 52 Sidney is thought to have started a translation of Duplessis-Mornay’s De la vérité de la religion Chrestienne , which later appeared in a translation by Arthur
discuss in Chapters Six and Seven .
Victor Skretkowicz’s essay discusses Mary Sidney Herbert’s Antonius with reference to her other work A Discourse of Life and Death . These translations of works by RobertGarnier and Philippe Duplessis-Mornay respectively were published together in 1592. For Skretkowicz, Sidney Herbert’s publication of such apparently divergent texts espouses a ‘Huguenot doctrine’ which includes both Duplessis-Mornay’s ethos (which is seen as exemplifying the ‘younger, more idealist’ group) and the philosophy of her brother’s older mentor
Musical spectacle at the Paris court of Maria de’ Medici, the Italian
Minerva of France
encouraged to stage a production of RobertGarnier’s play,
Bradamante . This interest in theatre was not deemed
inimical to devout feminine behaviour (Britland 2006 : 3). Maria drew on networks of agents and brokers to
organise her spectacles, including Claude Maugis, Claude
Bouthillier, André and Nicolas Potier, Octavien Doni, Jehan
Phélypeaux, Florent d’Argouges, Concino Concini
latter constitute her most serious poetic output, completing her brother
Philip’s unfinished task. She also translated from French an ethical
tract, A Discourse of Life and Death by Philippe de Mornay, and RobertGarnier’s Senecan play Antonius. Some have thought that ‘The Dolefull
Lay of Clorinda’ in Spenser’s Astrophel is her composition, though it
appears to be Spenser’s own.
The Herbert estate, Wilton in Wiltshire, was a centre of literary activity and patronage. Philip Sidney composed much of his Arcadia there
and dedicated it to his sister. She mourned his death
, Fortune and Death in
Soliman, Revenge keeping company with Andrea’s ghost in The Spanish
Tragedy) acting as chorus and returning regularly to comment on the
action. Both Boas and Félix Carrère (although the latter does not believe
in Kyd’s authorship of Soliman)91 also provide long lists of verbal echoes
between the two plays, as well as between Soliman and Cornelia (1594),
Kyd’s translation of a French original by RobertGarnier (Paris, 1574).
Most of those verbal coincidences are included in the notes to the present
edition. It would be tedious to repeat them all, but
French essayist some ten years later in conjunction with the final major turn in his generic practice.
Romance and tragicomedy across the Channel
Before making a case for French intertexts as significantly illuminating Pericles and The Winter’s Tale , it is worth briefly insisting on the importance and chronological scope of tragicomedy as a genre on the French dramatic scene. It did not originate in 1582, as traditional scholarship tended to assume – and Herrick follows on this point – with Bradamante , RobertGarnier’s highly literary adaptation of Ariosto