Sir Philip Sidney and the Arcadias

Helen Moore

in The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Sir Philip Sidney and the Arcadias

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  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)



The Arcadia in its material form exemplifies the overlapping publication cultures of manuscript and print. It therefore stands, like much later Tudor literature, on the cusp of two very different literary worlds: one intimate, familiar, and essentially elite, the other public and socially diverse. So it is that on the one hand the Arcadia is Sidney's ‘toyfull booke’, purportedly written for the amusement of his sister; and on the other it is the work of dignified eminence described in Greville's Dedication. The historical dominance of the incomplete and composite printed versions means that the textual history of the Arcadia is characterized by a rhetoric of hybridity, deficiency, and attempted ‘perfection’. This article argues that in form and content, as much as in material survival, the Arcadia is a hybridized text, at once private and public, comic and serious, English and Continental, modern and retrospective.

Keywords: manuscript; print; hybridized text; Greville; Arcadia

Article.  7873 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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