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Philhellene Protestantism, Renaissance translation and English literary politics

Relatively late manifestations of the European philhellene revival of Greco-Roman letters presented to readers complex, extended prose fiction in which the trials of love mask an implicit moral and political allegory. Inevitably, coming during the Reformation, Counter-Reformation and the Catholic Reformation, this cultural phenomenon was not without its religious and political dimensions. Longus, Achilles Tatius and Heliodorus were the three principal English exponents of rhetorically conscious Greco-Roman erotic romance. This book enhances the understanding of the erotic romances of Philip Sidney, Shakespeare, and Lady Mary Sidney Wroth by setting them within an integrated political, rhetorical, and aesthetic context. It investigates how Renaissance translators alter rhetorical styles, and even contents, to accord with contemporary taste, political agendas and the restrictions of censorship. Particular attention is paid to differences between the French courtly style of Jacques Amyot and François de Belleforest and the more literal translations of their English counterparts. Valuable perspective on the early translations is offered through the modern English versions in B.P. Reardon's Collected Ancient Greek Novels. The book considers the three texts of Sidney's Arcadia, as a political romance sharing many of the thematic and rhetorical concerns of the ancients. It focuses on a narrow range of Shakespeare's plays including Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. The book identifies Mary Sidney Wroth's masque-like prose allegory, The Countess of Montgomery's Urania, as philhellene Protestant political propaganda.

Victor Skretkowicz

Philhellene Protestant erotic propaganda In Les raisons de la monarchie ( 1551 ), Guillaume Postel argued for the establishment of a universal Christian monarchy. Its spiritual leader would be the Pope, its secular head the King of France, whose title of ‘Rex Christianissimus’ descended from Clovis through

in European erotic romance
Victor Skretkowicz

theologian Zacharias Ursinus of Heidelberg; and Sidney’s mentor, Hubert Languet. 12 Melanchthon’s blessing increased the significance of Warschewiczki’s edition, and An Ethiopian Story , to generations of philhellene Protestants. It may have helped persuade Sigismund and the Polish Diet to grant Protestants freedom of worship in 1555, rescinded by the end of the

in European erotic romance
Abstract only
Victor Skretkowicz

’ as encoded diction, particularly when used in meaningful clusters. Blair Worden, in The Sound of Virtue: Philip Sidney’s Arcadia and Elizabethan Politics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996 ), traces this practice among the coterie of philhellene Protestants associated with the Sidney circle, whom he terms ‘forward Protestants’. Similarly David Norbrook, in Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric and

in European erotic romance
Victor Skretkowicz

monarchomachist views consistent with the nationalist politics of the tolerant philhellene Protestants. Shakespeare’s allusion to, and absorption of, the Greco-Roman romances is so varied that it has been described as ‘vague and elusive, even in his recognition scenes a matter of general similarities of incident and situation’. 2 This chapter places Shakespeare’s adaptations of Greco- Roman

in European erotic romance
Abstract only
Victor Skretkowicz

. Translators’ and publishers’ dedications by Protestant monarchomachists connected erotic romance with characters exhibiting political, cultural and intellectual superiority. Among geographically widespread European philhellene Protestants, the genre became synonymous with the high level of principled behaviour that they hoped Christian Europe would adopt. In this passive way, the genre

in European erotic romance
Victor Skretkowicz

readily this text could be adapted to serve their social, political and cultural agendas. The most ecphrastic and rhetorically artificial of the Greco-Roman erotic romances, in France it joined the courtly band of stylised nationalist works inspired by Amyot’s Heliodorus. In England, it first played its part in late Elizabethan philhellene Protestant propaganda. Later, reflecting

in European erotic romance
Victor Skretkowicz

being determined by the political impetus leading to their production. Reynolds contributes to the philhellene Protestant cultural revolution in England, dedicating his volume to Robert Dudley, master of the horse, arch-Elizabethan philhellene Protestant and Philip Sidney’s uncle. Typical of an author seeking patronage in the Dudley camp of monarcho-machists (royalists dedicated

in European erotic romance
Victor Skretkowicz

illustrate, it proves well nigh impossible for individuals and nations to set aside self-interest to form a collective resistance to tyranny. Selective monarchomachia Sidney uses the Philisides-Languet song to signal his association with the philhellene Protestant political reformation, encouraged by Languet’s mentor

in European erotic romance

Ralph Knevet's Supplement of the Faery Queene (1635) is a narrative and allegorical work, which weaves together a complex collection of tales and episodes, featuring knights, ladies, sorcerers, monsters, vertiginous fortresses and deadly battles – a chivalric romp in Spenser's cod medieval style. The poem shadows recent English history, and the major military and political events of the Thirty Years War. But the Supplement is also an ambitiously intertextual poem, weaving together materials from mythic, literary, historical, scientific, theological, and many other kinds of written sources. Its encyclopaedic ambitions combine with Knevet's historical focus to produce an allegorical epic poem of considerable interest and power.

This new edition of Knevet's Supplement, the first scholarly text of the poem ever published, situates it in its literary, historical, biographical, and intellectual contexts. An extensive introduction and copious critical commentary, positioned at the back of the book, will enable students and scholars alike to access Knevet's complicated and enigmatic meanings, structures, and allusions.