Humanities and Social Sciences

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Ideas of Statecraft in Philip Sidney’s The Defense of Poesy

Received: 4 February 2024    Accepted: 26 February 2024    Published: 7 March 2024
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Abstract

Philip Sidney was a famous courtier, soldier, poet and patron in Elizabethan England. As the best work of literary criticism in the English Renaissance, Sidney’s The Defense of Poesy not only contains rich poetic, philosophical and aesthetic values, but also permeates with comments and suggestions on current politics, implying advanced ideas of statecraft. Studying The Defense of Poesy in the context of social, political and cultural anxiety in England in the late 1570s and early 1580s, this article attempts to reveal Sidney’s creative motive and governing ideology. The adherence to ethical values shows his belief in “building the state with political virtue”; the praise of the heroic epic reveals the determination to “protect the state with military force”; the prospect of national poetics presents the vision of “strengthening the state with national culture”. Sidney reinterpreted the function of poetry and the responsibility of poets at the time of national crisis. Discussing politics in the name of poetry, Sidney expressed his efforts to create a political poetics aiming to serve the state, and demonstrated the beautiful political vision of building a “golden world” of heroic, solidary, independent, and united England. Throughout his life, Sidney turned the ideas of statecraft into an act of serving the country. After his early death in battle, he was hailed as the cultural icon and national hero of England.

DOI 10.11648/j.hss.20241202.12
Published in Humanities and Social Sciences (Volume 12, Issue 2, April 2024)
Page(s) 29-34
Creative Commons

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is properly cited.

Copyright

Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Science Publishing Group

Keywords

Philip Sidney, The Defense of Poesy, Ideas of Statecraft

References
[1] Berry, Edward. Hubert Languet and the ‘Making’ of Philip Sidney. Studies in Philology. 1988, 85 (3), 305-320. https://doi.org/10.23074174308
[2] Berry, Lloyd E. ed., John Stubbs’s Gaping Gulf with Letters and Other Relevant Documents. University Press of Virginia; 1968, p. 16.
[3] Boas, Frederick S. Sir Philip Sidney: Representative Elizabethan, His Life and Writings. London: Staples Press Limited; 1955, p. 9.
[4] Brennan, Michael G. The Sidneys of Penshurst and the Monarchy, 1500-1700. Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate; 2006, pp. 1-3.
[5] Buxton, John. Sir Philip Sidney and the English Renaissance (Third Edition). London: Macmillan Press; 1987, p. 1.
[6] Campbell, Julie. Literary Circles and Gender in Early Modern Europe: A Cross-Cultural Approach. Ashgate Publishing Limited; 2006, p. 125.
[7] Duncan-Jones, Katherine. Sir Philip Sidney. Courtier Poet. New Haven and London: Yale University Press; 1991, p. 44.
[8] Gosson, Stephen. The Schoole of Abuse. London: Shakespeare Society; 1841, pp. 10-24.
[9] Gray, William. The Miscellaneous Works of Sir Philip Sidney. Salzwasser-Verlag; 2022, p. 16.
[10] Hyman, Virginia Riley. Sidney’s Definition of Poetry. Studies in English Literature. 1970, 10 (1), 49-62. https://doi.org/10.2307/449695
[11] Levy, Fred J. Philip Sidney Reconsidered. In Sidney in Retrospect: Selections from English Literary Renaissance, ed. Arthur F. Kinney. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press; 1988, pp. 3-14.
[12] Nauert, Charles G. Historical Dictionary of the Renaissance. Lanham: The Scarecrow Press; 2004, p. ix.
[13] Shepherd, Geoffrey. Introduction. In An Apology for Poetry or The Defence of Poesy, ed. Geoffrey Shepherd. London: Nelson; 1965, p. 77.
[14] Sidney, Philip. The Defence of Poesy. In Sir Philip Sidney: The Major Works, ed. Katherine Duncan-Jones. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1989, pp. 212-250.
[15] Stewart, Alan. Philip Sidney: a double life. London: Chatto & Windus; 2000, pp. 5-8.
[16] Young, Richard B. English Petrarke: A Study of Sidney’s Astrophel ans Stella. In Three Studies in the Renaissance: Sidney, Jonson, Milton. Yale University Press; 1958, pp. 5-88.
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    Wenjia, Z. (2024). Ideas of Statecraft in Philip Sidney’s The Defense of Poesy. Humanities and Social Sciences, 12(2), 29-34. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.hss.20241202.12

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    ACS Style

    Wenjia, Z. Ideas of Statecraft in Philip Sidney’s The Defense of Poesy. Humanit. Soc. Sci. 2024, 12(2), 29-34. doi: 10.11648/j.hss.20241202.12

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    AMA Style

    Wenjia Z. Ideas of Statecraft in Philip Sidney’s The Defense of Poesy. Humanit Soc Sci. 2024;12(2):29-34. doi: 10.11648/j.hss.20241202.12

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  • @article{10.11648/j.hss.20241202.12,
      author = {Zhu Wenjia},
      title = {Ideas of Statecraft in Philip Sidney’s The Defense of Poesy},
      journal = {Humanities and Social Sciences},
      volume = {12},
      number = {2},
      pages = {29-34},
      doi = {10.11648/j.hss.20241202.12},
      url = {https://doi.org/10.11648/j.hss.20241202.12},
      eprint = {https://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/pdf/10.11648.j.hss.20241202.12},
      abstract = {Philip Sidney was a famous courtier, soldier, poet and patron in Elizabethan England. As the best work of literary criticism in the English Renaissance, Sidney’s The Defense of Poesy not only contains rich poetic, philosophical and aesthetic values, but also permeates with comments and suggestions on current politics, implying advanced ideas of statecraft. Studying The Defense of Poesy in the context of social, political and cultural anxiety in England in the late 1570s and early 1580s, this article attempts to reveal Sidney’s creative motive and governing ideology. The adherence to ethical values shows his belief in “building the state with political virtue”; the praise of the heroic epic reveals the determination to “protect the state with military force”; the prospect of national poetics presents the vision of “strengthening the state with national culture”. Sidney reinterpreted the function of poetry and the responsibility of poets at the time of national crisis. Discussing politics in the name of poetry, Sidney expressed his efforts to create a political poetics aiming to serve the state, and demonstrated the beautiful political vision of building a “golden world” of heroic, solidary, independent, and united England. Throughout his life, Sidney turned the ideas of statecraft into an act of serving the country. After his early death in battle, he was hailed as the cultural icon and national hero of England.
    },
     year = {2024}
    }
    

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    AB  - Philip Sidney was a famous courtier, soldier, poet and patron in Elizabethan England. As the best work of literary criticism in the English Renaissance, Sidney’s The Defense of Poesy not only contains rich poetic, philosophical and aesthetic values, but also permeates with comments and suggestions on current politics, implying advanced ideas of statecraft. Studying The Defense of Poesy in the context of social, political and cultural anxiety in England in the late 1570s and early 1580s, this article attempts to reveal Sidney’s creative motive and governing ideology. The adherence to ethical values shows his belief in “building the state with political virtue”; the praise of the heroic epic reveals the determination to “protect the state with military force”; the prospect of national poetics presents the vision of “strengthening the state with national culture”. Sidney reinterpreted the function of poetry and the responsibility of poets at the time of national crisis. Discussing politics in the name of poetry, Sidney expressed his efforts to create a political poetics aiming to serve the state, and demonstrated the beautiful political vision of building a “golden world” of heroic, solidary, independent, and united England. Throughout his life, Sidney turned the ideas of statecraft into an act of serving the country. After his early death in battle, he was hailed as the cultural icon and national hero of England.
    
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Author Information
  • College of Foreign Languages, Henan University, Kaifeng, China

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