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Thinking poets
Author: Yulia Ryzhik

The names Edmund Spenser and John Donne are typically associated with different ages in English poetry, the former with the sixteenth century and the Elizabethan Golden Age, the latter with the ‘metaphysical’ poets of the seventeenth century. This collection of essays, part of The Manchester Spenser series, brings together leading Spenser and Donne scholars to challenge this dichotomous view and to engage critically with both poets, not only at the sites of direct allusion, imitation, or parody but also in terms of common preoccupations and continuities of thought, informed by the literary and historical contexts of the politically and intellectually turbulent turn of the century. Juxtaposing these two poets, so apparently unlike one another, for comparison rather than contrast changes our understanding of each poet individually and moves towards a more holistic, relational view of their poetics.

Wood reads Philip Sidney’s New Arcadia in the light of the ethos known as Philippism, after the followers of Philip Melanchthon the Protestant theologian. He employs a critical paradigm previously used to discuss Sidney’s Defence of Poesy and narrows the gap that critics have found between Sidney’s theory and literary practice. This book is a valuable resource for scholars and researchers in the fields of literary and religious studies.

Various strands of philosophical, political and theological thought are accommodated within the New Arcadia, which conforms to the kind of literature praised by Melanchthon for its examples of virtue. Employing the same philosophy, Sidney, in his letter to Queen Elizabeth and in his fiction, arrogates to himself the role of court counsellor. Robert Devereux also draws, Wood argues, on the optimistic and conciliatory philosophy signified by Sidney’s New Arcadia.

Conflicted conflicts in Astrophil and Stella and the New Arcadia
Richard James Wood

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

in Sidney's Arcadia and the conflicts of virtue
The Earl of Essex, Sir Philip Sidney and surviving Elizabeth’s court
Richard James Wood

The truest test of Sidney’s legacy of anti-factionalism would have been to provide a guiding philosophy at the time when court politics was at its most polarized. In such circumstances, which, arguably, the 1590s were for Elizabethan courtiers, Sidney’s ethos would have been invaluable. As we saw in Chapter One , and as I show in this chapter, Sidney’s sophisticated, textually mediated relationship with his monarch has the potential to mitigate difficult political situations. Sidney’s discourse of pragmatic Stoicism and principled anti-factionalism, associated

in Sidney's Arcadia and the conflicts of virtue
Sir Philip Sidney, the Arcadia and his step-dame, Elizabeth
Richard James Wood

This first chapter introduces Sir Philip Sidney’s contribution to the Elizabethan political imaginary, paying particular attention to his relationship, as a would-be court counsellor, with Queen Elizabeth. I begin to elucidate the particular contribution made by Sidney’s Arcadia to the beliefs and practices of Tudor political culture. The Old Arcadia , Sidney’s first attempt to negotiate his relationship with Elizabeth in the form of an extended prose work, his ‘Letter to Queen Elizabeth, Touching her Marriage with Monsieur’ and Astrophil and Stella form

in Sidney's Arcadia and the conflicts of virtue
Sir Philip Sidney’s legacy of anti-factionalism
Richard James Wood

Although Philip Sidney’s Arcadia was completed in the previous decade, it was in fact a work of great literary significance to the 1590s. In particular, the literary quarrel associated with the different publications of the romance reflected the conflicting political philosophies of the publications’ editors. This was a dispute over Sidney’s literary heritage, with added importance for the possible future direction of a state dogged by factionalism. As one of Sidney’s early editors, Fulke Greville chose to connect the Arcadia with one particularly prominent

in Sidney's Arcadia and the conflicts of virtue
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Jean R. Brink

The prefatory material to the Shepheardes Calender was written prior to 10 April 1579, because it is signed with that date, but the poem was not entered into the Stationers’ Register until 5 December 1579. Spenser had ample time to secure Sidney's consent to the dedication and to introduce political commentary into whatever pastoral structure already existed. During these months, England was in tumult over what it

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
Love’s Labour’s Lost and As You Like It
Richard Hillman

down-to-earth political associations; a homely forest of ‘Arden’ that is also the romantically infused Ardennes. Such an approach implies that, given an audience’s pre-existing perceptions and forms of knowledge, what may conveniently be termed its ‘French associations’, France could not function as a ‘neutral’ background for infinite comic possibility. A basic contrast may be drawn here, first, with the fantastic neo-classical Ephesis of The Comedy of Errors , as with the medievalised legendary Athens of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the never-never-land of

in The Shakespearean comic and tragicomic
Supernatural generation and the limits of power in Shakespeare’s Richard III
Chelsea Phillips

instability within the social or political world; and (3) Changeling children and other supernatural offspring. For each category, I offer examples from Shakespeare's plays, followed by a reading of one example that teases out the way Shakespeare constructs the supernatural and its constraints. I conclude by applying these initial observations to an analysis of Richard III's origins as recounted in Henry VI, Part 3 and Richard III . As contextual information, I will first offer brief examples of the way religious, medical and other texts construed

in Shakespeare and the supernatural

This is a companion to Pastoral poetry of the English Renaissance: an anthology (2016), supporting the earlier volume with a range of critical and textual material.

The book-length Introduction traces the course of pastoral from antiquity to the present day. The historical account is woven into a thematic map of the richly varied pastoral mode. Pastoral is linked to its social context, in terms of not only direct allusion but its deeper origins and affinities. English Renaissance pastoral is set in this total perspective. Besides the formal eclogue, the study covers many genres: lyric, epode, georgic, country-house poem, ballad, romantic epic, drama, prose romance. Major practitioners like Theocritus, Virgil, Sidney, Spenser, Drayton and Milton are individually discussed. The Introduction also charts the many means by which pastoral texts circulated in that age, with implications for the history and reception of all Early Modern poetry.

All poems in the Anthology were edited from the original manuscripts and early printed texts. The Textual Notes in the present volume comprehensively document the sources and variant readings. There are also notes on the poets, and analytical indices of themes, genres, and various categories of proper names.