This revisionary biographical study documents that Spenser was the protégé of a circle of churchmen who expected him to take holy orders, but between 1574, when he left Pembroke College, and 1579, when he published the Shepheardes Calender, he decided against a career in the church. At Pembroke College and in London, Spenser watched the Elizabethan establishment crack down on independent thinking. The sequestration of Edmund Grindal was a watershed event in his early life, as was his encounter with Philip Sidney, the dedicatee of to the Shepheardes Calender. Once Spenser exchanged the role of shepherd-priest for that of shepherd-poet, he understood that his role was not just to celebrate the victories of Protestant England over the Spanish empire, immortalize in verse the virtues of Gloriana’s knights, but also to ‘fashion a noble person in vertuous and gentle discipline’. The received biography of the early Spenser emphasizes Gabriel Harvey, who is reported to have been Spenser’s tutor. Brink shows that Harvey could not have been Spenser’s tutor and argues that Harvey published Familiar Letters (1580) to promote his ambition to be named University Orator at Cambridge. Brink shows that Spenser had already received preferment. His life is contextualized by comparisons with contemporaries including Philip Sidney, Lodowick Bryskett, Shakespeare, and Sir Walter Ralegh. Brink’s provocative study, based upon a critical re-evaluation of manuscript and printed sources, emphasizes Philip Sidney over Harvey and shows that Spenser’s appointment as secretary to Lord Grey was a preferment celebrated even years later by Camden.
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.
Association with the Sidneys may have shaped Spenser's career – as it did those of Lodowick Bryskett and Fulke Greville. It is possible, as suggested by commendatory poems to the Faerie Queene , that contact with Sir Philip Sidney led Colin Clout to conceive of himself as an epic poet. There may be at least a hint that Spenser entered the service of the Sidneys and through them had access to Leicester House prior to
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
and its code’; ‘it was the last honour revolt’; Essex himself, a product of his ‘aristocratic lineage, his military career, and the tradition he inherited’, was ‘a paradigm of honour’. 5 Moreover, a dominant feature of Essex’s make-up, according to James, was a new chivalric romanticism, ‘a synthesis of honour, humanism and religion’, inherited from Sir Philip Sidney and epitomised by his prose
in Europe after Noah, in which Samothes ruled over a unified kingdom that included France and Britain. In using Annius’s pseudo-Berosus legend of Samothes to politicise his Old Arcadia , Sir Philip Sidney (1554–86) appears to be unique among creative writers of the European Renaissance. Sidney wrote the bulk of the Old Arcadia in June 1577, 1 shortly after returning from
1579, we find no references to Spenser in Harvey's marginalia, though he specifically describes encounters, for example, with Sir Thomas Smith and his son which occurred in 1570–71. For that matter, he could have mentioned ‘the new poet’ in the marginalia of his Livy or another favoured text, just as he refers to Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Edward Denny, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and Captain Thomas Smith the younger, to note only a few. In his private
seek here to identify parallels that bespeak a broad, shared cultural response across the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to an inherited Greek tradition, strongly marked by Aristotelian thought, in which the relation between what Sir Philip Sidney would call ‘manner’ and ‘matter’ played a fundamental role. My argument brings René Descartes and Sidney together as two key
The ancient ‘love-and-adventure’ – or ‘ideal’ – prose romances 1 that inspire the erotic romances of Sir Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare and Lady Mary Sidney Wroth were written in Greek between the first and fourth centuries AD. While modern scholars know of ‘over twenty’ novels of this type, no more than five survive complete. Of these, only
Greco-Roman Romance of the Second Sophistic and the Renaissance Erotic romance, Middle Eastern in its provincial origins but European in its flavour, achieved a spectacular flourishing between 1579 and 1626 in the writings of Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586), William Shakespeare (1564–1616) and Mary Sidney Wroth (1587–1651/53). The