Jeff Dolven

in Scenes of Instruction in Renaissance Romance

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780226155364
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226155371 | DOI:

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This chapter focuses on Philip Sidney's Arcadia, outlining the book's larger struggle with its own didacticism by attending to a particular trope: the preeminent feature of Arcadia's style, the sententia, or moral maxim. It considers what happens when school sententiae become the very texture of a romance, the signal feature of its dialect. C. S. Lewis wrote fifty years ago that “maxims of law, government, morals, or psychology … are scattered on nearly every page” of Arcadia, and his “nearly” represents something of an undercount. They are everywhere, and they are a key both to Sidney's bearing toward the culture of teaching in which he was raised, and to the antididactic project of this first draft of his pastoral romance.

Keywords: Philip Sidney; didacticism; sententia; moral maxim; teaching; romance

Chapter.  16372 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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