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3 July 1986
The Prose Works of Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke 
edited by John Gouws.
Oxford, 279 pp., £40, March 1986, 0 19 812746 4
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... Four hundred years ago, on 17 October 1586, Sir PhilipSidney died at the age of 31 of a wound sustained in a skirmish at Zutphen, where his forces had fought for the Dutch cause against Spanish domination of the Netherlands. It was one of the great deaths of ...

Unusual Endowments

Patrick Collinson

30 March 2000
Philip SidneyA Double Life 
by Alan Stewart.
Chatto, 400 pp., £20, February 2000, 0 7011 6859 5
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... off for Poland, which was without a king at the time. Later, a story was invented that he had been offered the Polish crown: absurd, but can there be smoke without any fire whatsoever? In May 1575, PhilipSidney returned to Little England. If England was small beer, so was he, no baron but plain Mr Sidney. He was 20 years of age. Sidney’s career makes a bizarre episode in that endless saga which is ...

My Dagger into Yow

Ian Donaldson: Sidney’s Letters

25 April 2013
The Correspondence of Sir Philip​ Sidney 
edited by Roger Kuin.
Oxford, 1381 pp., £250, July 2012, 978 0 19 955822 3
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... English, replete with flourishes and sentiments often alien to the sender, but part nevertheless of the rhetorical currency required for any respectable courtship or commercial transaction. As a boy, PhilipSidney – whose works Richardson was later to publish, and to study with attention – was carefully trained in the art of letter writing. His bedroom, according to his early biographer Thomas ...
25 June 1992
Sir Philip SidneyCourtier Poet 
by Katherine Duncan-Jones.
Hamish Hamilton, 350 pp., £20, September 1991, 0 241 12650 9
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Algernon Sidney​ and the Restoration Crisis 
by Jonathan Scott.
Cambridge, 406 pp., £40, October 1991, 0 521 35291 6
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Algernon Sidney​ and the Republican Heritage 
by Alan Craig Houston.
Princeton, 335 pp., £22.50, November 1991, 0 691 07860 2
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Milton’s ‘History of Britain’: Republican Historiography in the English Revolution 
by Nicholas von Maltzahn.
Oxford, 244 pp., £32.50, November 1991, 0 19 812897 5
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... In the gentle countryside to the west of Maidstone in Kent lies Penshurst House, the home of the Sidney family since the middle of the 16th century. The most famous of the Sidneys, Sir Philip, included an affectionate account of Penshurst in his Arcadia, where it is thinly disguised as the house of Kalendar. A generation later Ben Jonson’s poem ‘To Penshurst’ celebrated the house as ...

Advanced Thought

William Empson

24 January 1980
Genesis of Secrecy 
by Frank Kermode.
Harvard, 169 pp., £5.50, June 1979, 0 674 34525 8
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... read as if it were a history. Also it is rather unfair to take the chief examples from the Gospels, because there many readers have an extra difficulty about the miracles. A brief paragraph about Sir PhilipSidney, thrown in as an extra, does more to make the position clear. Lying wounded on a battlefield, the aristocratic young officer was brought a cup of water, but handed it on to a wounded trooper ...

Turncoats and Opportunists

Alexandra Walsham: Francis Walsingham

5 July 2012
The Queen’s Agent: Francis Walsingham at the Court of Elizabeth I 
by John Cooper.
Faber, 400 pp., £9.99, July 2012, 978 0 571 21827 1
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... image of Walsingham as spymaster established by James Anthony Froude’s History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada (1856-70), his early 20th-century biographers, Sidney Lee and Conyers Read, presented him as an astute and distinguished patriot who laid the foundations for the modern security services. But then Read’s three-volume study of 1925 reflected his own ...
3 April 1997
The Sound of Virtue: Philip Sidney’s ‘Arcadia’ and Elizabethan Politics 
by Blair Worden.
Yale, 406 pp., £40, October 1996, 0 300 06693 7
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... sentiment, led and orchestrated from above (Leicester), seems to have thwarted the Queen’s personal desires. Part of the opposition to the match came from Leicester’s nephew and heir-apparent, PhilipSidney, who in 1577 had returned from a brilliant diplomatic mission to find himself unappreciated. The Queen suspected his impetuosity and was angered by the plan to marry him to the daughter of the ...

Ye must all be alike

Catherine Gallagher

27 January 1994
Writing Women in Jacobean England 
by Barbara Kiefer Lewalski.
Harvard, 431 pp., £35.95, February 1993, 0 674 96242 7
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... which celebrated women’s virtues. Another writer, Mary Wroth, though not an insider at Anne’s court, also based her career on an identification with her father’s family, which included Sir PhilipSidney and Mary Sidney Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke. This illustrious literary patrimony, we are shown, might have inspired her to risk the King’s displeasure by publishing her scandalous ...

I, Lowborn Cur

Colin Burrow: Literary Names

22 November 2012
Literary Names: Personal Names in English Literature 
by Alastair Fowler.
Oxford, 283 pp., £19.99, September 2012, 978 0 19 959222 7
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... diligence, are often the result of an author’s appreciating the existence of a convention and playing with it. So in comedies a name does not have to show a fate or a characteristic. The name Philip Pirrip, known as Pip, sounds like the cry of a bird: a pirr is both a name for and the cry of a tern, which Pip might well meet in the Kent marshes, along with the odd ‘melancholy gull’. As ...

Ancient Exploitation

Christopher Hill

4 February 1982
The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World: from the Archaic Age to the Arab Conquests 
by G.E.M. de Ste Croix.
Duckworth, 732 pp., £38, December 1981, 0 7156 0738 3
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... Aesop, Phaedrus). It had the same advantages as pastoral had for 16th and 17th-century English poets plagued by the censor. ‘Sometimes under the pretty tales of wolves and sheep,’ wrote Sir PhilipSidney, we can without risk ‘include the whole consideration of wrongdoings and patience’. Among the more agreeable qualities is a brisk Gibbonian way of dismissing those historians or historical ...
17 June 1982
Re-Reading English 
edited by Peter Widdowson.
Methuen, 246 pp., £7.95, March 1982, 0 416 31150 4
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Against Criticism 
by Iain McGilchrist.
Faber, 271 pp., £12.50, May 1982, 0 571 11922 0
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... Antony Easthope argues that traditional literary criticism encourages the reader to identify with the poet and that this is a ‘narcissistic and élitist identification (you too can be Sir PhilipSidney)’. Readers who surrender to their ‘misrecognition of themselves in the Poet’ deny themselves as readers: ‘In contrast, literary science will discuss the poem as construction, acknowledging it ...

Mingling Freely at the Mermaid

Blair Worden: 17th-century poets and politics

6 November 2003
The Crisis of 1614 and the Addled Parliament: Literary and Historical Perspectives 
edited by Stephen Clucas and Rosalind Davies.
Ashgate, 213 pp., £45, November 2003, 0 7546 0681 3
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The Politics of Court Scandal in Early Modern England: News Culture and the Overbury Affair 1603-60 
by Alastair Bellany.
Cambridge, 312 pp., £45, January 2002, 0 521 78289 9
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... time. Yet his account of Henry’s reign abandons factual accuracy. Behind it there lies instead the old literary model of the sleeping prince who wakes just in time, which the fiction and verse of Sidney and Spenser had used to urge Queen Elizabeth to mend her ways. What the editors of The Crisis of 1614 have enterprisingly done for that year could have been attempted for a number of other occasions ...
1 December 1983
Collected Essays: Vols I and II 
by Frances Yates.
Routledge, 279 pp., £12.50, May 1982, 0 7100 0952 6
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... poets are painters and philosophers; and painters are philosophers and poets.’ It is no surprise, therefore, to find him composing a verbal emblem book, Gli Eroici Furori. This was dedicated to Sir PhilipSidney in 1585 and exercised a profound influence upon Elizabethan poetry. In devising and explaining his visual conceits, Bruno aimed to transform the increasingly stale conventions of Petrarchan ...

Nolanus Nullanus

Charles Nicholl

12 March 1992
Giordano Bruno and the Embassy Affair 
by John Bossy.
Yale, 294 pp., £16.95, September 1991, 0 300 04993 5
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The Elizabethan Secret Service 
by Alison Plowden.
Harvester Wheatsheaf, 158 pp., £30, September 1991, 0 7108 1152 7
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The Lord of Uraniborg: A Biography of Tycho Brahe 
by Victor Thoren.
Cambridge, 523 pp., £40, May 1991, 0 521 35158 8
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... where he published works on the art of memory and other occult subjects. In England he embarked on an intense course of self-publicity. He disputed at Oxford, held philosophical soirées with Sir PhilipSidney and Fulke Greville, and published a series of arcane Italian ‘dialogues’ with titles like The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast and The Heroical Furies. What exactly he was evangelising is ...

Slants

Alastair Fowler

9 November 1989
Melodious Guile: Fictive Pattern in Poetic Language 
by John Hollander.
Yale, 262 pp., £20, January 1989, 0 300 04293 0
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Second World and Green World: Studies in Renaissance Fiction-Making 
by Harry Berger.
California, 519 pp., $54, November 1988, 0 520 05826 7
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... Guile seems a little distorted by the effort of showing that the propositions deconstruction subverts never were the point of poetry anyway. Perhaps in consequence, Hollander tends to follow PhilipSidney rather too closely in identifying poetry with fiction. He even takes literally the Sidneian symbolon that the poet ‘nothing affirms’, playfully adopting in his own criticism the evasive formula ...

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