The Defence of Poesy is the first major piece of literary criticism in English. Taking aim at classical authors who disparaged poetry, and contemporary critics who saw literature as a corrupting influence, Sidney foregrounds the moral force of poetry. Sidney considers the real life affects of poetry upon the reader arguing that the stories instill virtues like courage in the reader. He combines this moral argument with a discussion of the technical features like genre, metre and rhyme. The Defence of Poesy thus began a long tradition of poets writing about poetry and is a touchstone for modern poetic criticism.
Ways in to the text
Who was Philip Sidney?
What does Defence of Poesy say?
Why does Defence of Poesy matter?
Section 1: Influences
Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context
Module 2: Academic Context
Module 3: The Problem
Module 4: The Author's Contribution
Section 2: Ideas
Module 5: Main Ideas
Module 6: Secondary Ideas
Module 7: Achievement
Module 8: Place in the Author's Work
Section 3: Impact
Module 9: The First Responses
Module 10: The Evolving Debate
Module 11: Impact and Influence Today
Module 12: Where Next?
Glossary of Terms
People Mentioned in the Text
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