Sir Philip Sidney - Biography and Works

Sir Philip Sidney was a model noble man, scholar, poet, critic, diplomat, and courtier. He was at once a man of affairs and a high idealist, regarded in his own lifetime as the epitome of Knighthood. As a Renaissance man, his branch of knowledge is immense. Spenser has dedicated the Shepherd's Calendar to him.

Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

All his three major works are posthumously published. His sonnet sequence Astrophel and Stella appeared in 1591 that deserves mention as an inspirational work for later writers. The sonnet Astrophel and Stella provided a record of his hopeless love for Stella which combines traditional Petrarchan 'conceits' with considerable individuality of expression and feeling. His Defense of Poesie is the first attempt in English of any significance to draw together the arguments about the nature, function, possibilities, and future of poetry into a unified critical discussion. His other important work is The Arcadia; a pastoral romance in which shepherds and shepherdesses sing of the enjoyments of rural life. It became immeasurably popular and later copied by many writers.

He is one of the members of the poetic group called ‘Silver Poets’. Silver poets are the group of poets who did not follow the poetic tradition of that era which was influenced by the Italian Renaissance. As a defense, Sir Philip Sidney and other poets of this group composed poetry out of strong personal views of love, beauty and time. Their poetry was inspired by the real events of life rather than the classical reference of the Italian Renaissance.

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