Sir Philip Sidney Questions for English 256 Intro to Theory and Criticism, Chapman University Fall 2012

SIR PHILIP SIDNEY QUESTIONS FOR E256 INTRO TO THEORY AND CRITICISM

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Assigned: from "The Defence of Poesy" (read only 257-58, "There is no art delivered …" (through) "the poets only deliver a golden" and 262-63, "The philosopher, therefore …" (through) "if they be not illuminated or figured forth by the speaking picture of poesy."

From "The Defence of Poesy"

1. On 257, how does Sidney differentiate poetry from the other arts (that of the astronomer, geometrician, moral philosopher, rhetorician, etc.), all of which have "the works of nature" for their main object? What "subjection" do poets refuse, and what ideal can they "deliver" to us because of this refusal? How do Sidney's remarks touch upon the moral quality and mission of poetry?

2. On 262-63, how does Sidney justify his assertion that poetry is superior to either philosophy or history? How does poetry better accord with Sidney's Renaissance definition of learning's purpose as action (334 top), and in what ways do history and philosophy fail to do for us what poetry can? What relationship between pleasure and learning does the Christian author Sidney assert?

Edition: Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2010. ISBN 978-0-393-93292-8.