The Sound of Virtue: Philip Sidney's "Arcadia" and Elizabethan Politics

The Sound of Virtue: Philip Sidney's "Arcadia" and Elizabethan Politics

Hardback

By (author) Blair Worden

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Paperback $45.79
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 432 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 234mm x 41mm | 953g
  • Publication date: 31 January 1997
  • Publication City/Country: New Haven
  • ISBN 10: 0300066937
  • ISBN 13: 9780300066937
  • Edition statement: New ed.
  • Illustrations note: facsimiles, portraits

Product description

Written around 1580, Philip Sidney's "Arcadia" is a romance and a love story, set in an ancient and mythical land. But, as Blair Worden now reveals, it is also a commentary on Elizabethan politics. Under the guise of pastoral fiction, Sidney produced a reflection on the misgovernment of Elizabeth I and on the failings of monarchy as a system of government. Blair Worden reconstructs the events amidst which the "Arcadia" was composed. The Queen's failure to resist the Catholic advance at home and abroad, and her apparent resolve to marry the Catholic heir to the French throne, seemed likely to bring tyranny and persecution to England. It provoked a radical political dissent which historians and literary critics have missed, and of which the Arcadia" is an expression. "The Sound of Virtue" combines the close analysis of a literary text with the reconstruction of its historical context. It offers an approach to the relationship between the history and literature of the Renaissance.

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Written around 1580, Philip Sidney's Arcadia is a romance, a love story, a work of wit and enchantment set in an ancient and mythical land. But, as Blair Worden now startlingly reveals, it is also a grave and urgent commentary on Elizabethan politics. Under the protective guise of pastoral fiction, Sidney produced a searching reflection on the misgovernment of Elizabeth I and on the failings of monarchy as a system of government. Blair Worden reconstructs the dramatic events amidst which the Arcadia was composed and shows for the first time how profound is their presence in it. The Queen's failure to resist the Catholic advance at home and abroad, and her apparent resolve to marry the Catholic heir to the French throne, seemed likely to bring tyranny and persecution to England. Her policies provoked a radical political dissent which historians and literary critics have missed, and of which the Arcadia is the most penetrating and eloquent expression. The Sound of Virtue combines, in a manner and on a scale never before attempted, the close analysis of a literary text with the scholarly reconstruction of its historical context. It transforms our understanding of Sidney's masterpiece and offers a new approach to the relationship between the history and literature of the Renaissance.