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Philip Sidney
1554 - 1586



The Author

Sir Philip Sidney, «sublimely mild, a spirit without spot» (Shelley), courtier, poet, author of prose romance and critic, was born at Penshurst (Kent) in 1554. In 1568 he entered the University of Oxford, but left without taking a degree in 1571. The next three years he travelled in Europe to perfect his knowledge of Latin, French and Italian. He visited France, Germany, Austria and Italy. After his return to England in 1575 he attended the court of Elizabeth I. But his ardent Prodestantism didn't find favour with Elizabeth's religious policies. In 1583 he was knighted and became Member of Parliament. Two years later he was given an appointment in the Low Countries as governor of Flushing. In 1586 he was wounded in a skirmish with the Spaniards at Zutphen and died 22 days later at Arnheim at the age of thirty-two. The death of this idealized representative of the Elizabethan age occasioned a month of mourning in England. His works were not published during his lifetime, but they circulated in manuscript. The folio containing his major works appeared in 1598.

The Work

Discourse on Irish Affairs (1577)
The Lady of May (1578)
The Defence of Poesie (1580/81)
Certain Sonnets (1581)
The Countesse of Pembroke's Arcadia (Old Arcadia 1581)
Astrophel and Stella (1581/82)
The Countesse of Pembroke's Arcadia (New Arcadia 1584)


Richard Bear's Sidney sites (University of Oregon)
The Sidney site at the University of Toronto
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