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A Defence of Poesie and Poems (Paperback - 2018)

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About the Book

Also known as An Apology for Poetry, The Defence of Poesy is a work of literary criticism by Elizabethan poet Philip Sidney. It was written around 1579, and first published in 1595, after his death.

The essence of his defence is that poetry combines the liveliness of history with the ethical focus of philosophy, and is more effective than either history or philosophy in rousing its readers to virtue.

The Defence of Poesy is one of the most important contributions to literary theory written in English during the renaissance period. In it, Sidney advocates a place for poetry within the framework of an aristocratic state, but at the same time shows concern for both literary and national identity. The book is also a significant contribution to the genre of literary criticism. It is accredited to be England’s first philosophical defence in which Sidney describes poetry’s ancient and indispensable place in society, its mimetic nature, and its ethical function.

The importance of Sidney’s work can be best appreciated by understanding the then prevailing political climate when many religious leaders were condemning the production of imaginative literature, the lyric and dramatic works were seen as little more than tools for corruption, and much of the writing being produced in England at that time was trite, hackneyed and dull. Sidney, a student of the classics and a poet himself, gave the path-breaking idea that there was aesthetic as well as and moral value in poetry, which for all intents and purposes, included all imaginative literature.

About the Author

Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586) was an English poet, courtier, scholar, and soldier. He is widely regarded as one of the most prominent figures of the Elizabethan age. His works include Astrophel and Stella, The Defence of Poesy (also known as The Defence of Poetry or An Apology for Poetry), and The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia. He also wrote some psalms.

He was born at Penshurst Place, Kent, to Sir Henry Sidney and Lady Mary Dudley. In 1572, when he was just 18, he was elected as a Member of Parliament for Shrewsbury. The same year he travelled to France as part of the embassy to negotiate a marriage between Elizabeth-I and the Duc D’Alencon. He spent the next several years in various European countries, like Germany, Italy, Poland, and the Kingdom of Hungary and Austria.

Sidney was knighted in 1583. He married Frances, the daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham the same year. He made a visit to Oxford University with Giordano Bruno, who subsequently dedicated two books to him. Earlier, Sidney had met Edmund Spenser, who dedicated The Shepheardes Calender to him.

He remained absent from court for some time, and wrote Astrophel and Stella and the first draft of The Arcadia and The Defence of Poesy.

Sidney was a keenly militant Protestant. In the 1570s, he had persuaded John Casimir to consider proposals for a united Protestant effort against the Roman Catholic Church and Spain. In 1586, he joined Sir John Norris in the Battle of Zutphen, fighting for the Protestant cause against the Spanish. During the battle, he was shot in the thigh and died of gangrene a few days later. He was just 31 at that time. While lying wounded he gave his water to another wounded soldier, saying, “Thy necessity is yet greater than mine”. This became a very famous story about Sir Phillip Sidney, which illustrates his noble and gallant character.

More Information
Product NameA Defence of Poesie and Poems (Paperback - 2018)
Original PriceINR 150.00
AuthorSir Philip Sidney
PublisherPeacock Books
Publication Year2018
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