Sidney, Spenser, and Political Petrarchism

Syrithe Pugh

in Petrarch in Britain

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780197264133
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734649 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy 146

Sidney, Spenser, and Political Petrarchism

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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This chapter examines traces of Petrarchism in English poets Edmund Spenser and Sir Philip Sydney. It argues that the engagements of both poets with Petrarchism are more serious, and indeed more political, than traditional readings have implied. It explains that these two poets share Petrarch's condemnation of desire but do not display their contemptus mundi. It also discusses Spenser's recognition of the Petrarch's authority as a model for creating a sense of nationhood in thrall to a monarch and his use of this model to create a counter-national poetry whose authority is independent of political power.

Keywords: Petrarchism; Edmund Spenser; Sir Philip Sydney; English poets; contemptus mundi; Petrarch; nationhood; counter-national poetry; political power

Chapter.  6507 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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