The Art of War

D. J. B. Trim

in The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780199205882
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

The Art of War

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)



This article deals with ‘poetry’ by military men, or ‘martialists’, and it takes the view of poetry expressed by Sir Philip Sidney, soldier, general, and poet, who in his influential Defence of Poesy includes history as one of the subjects of the poet, and observes: ‘One may be a Poet without versing, and a versefier without Poetrie’. Thus, ‘martial poetics’ includes more than verse. It is writing that, even when factual rather than fictional, in prose rather than in verse, is also reflective and experiential — writing that recounts the author's own history: his experience of encountering, and attempting to engage in, the transformed art of war; and that often reflects on the impact that encounter had on the author's life, whether for good or ill.

Keywords: poetry; military men; martialists; martial poetics

Article.  8176 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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