Philip Sidney has introduced a rare document regarding the function and the origin of poetry. His document is based on the critical doctrines of Plato, Aristotle, Horace, Scaliger, and the Minturno. The introduction to these ideas labelled him as a genuine critic and the document as an epitome of Renaissance criticism in An Apology of Poetry by Philip Sidney. He brings together all the ideas from these writers and tries to interpret them in a critical sense. His document exists as a treatise on English literature and criticism. His ideas are not merely based on contemporary literature but also include a glimpse of ancient works. He showed great skills in composing the treatise based on Renaissance criticism. His power lies in the fact that he can criticize the idea on a sound basis What is an apology for poetry criticism? What is the historical context of an apology for poetry? These things will be discussed in this topic one by one.
Introduction of ARISTOTELIANISM
What is the historical context of an apology for poetry? He was working under the influence of Italian writers and authors. He worked as an agent to bring new literary techniques and literary words into English literature. He brought a new spirit into the literary line. Philip Sidney employed the ideas of Minturno and Scaliger for theorizing poetry. He can be regarded as the first critic to examine the poetics of Aristotle. He ponders over the function, nature and practicality of poetry over the period of time. He employed the different critics as a source for making his treatise more critical. His document raises questions on many grounds about the origin of poetry.
Sidney inaugurated a new era
His criticism is based on constructive ideas. His ideas serve as a parameter to understand the literary techniques imparted by him. What is the historical context of an apology for poetry? that is why he knows the merits and demerits of introducing such critical techniques in the critical history of English literature. In the medieval era, there was the domination of Biblical literature. He is regarded as the father of literary criticism on the basis of critical thinking. He appreciates the medieval writer for highlighting the values of that era with a critical understanding. He praises Chaucer for introducing such critical tales that embodied the spirit of the Renaissance era. There was great progress in the field of literary writings such as Ballads by Chevy Chase. So, An Apology of Poetry is the epitome of Renaissance criticism.
Representation of contemporary trends
He has analyzed the function and origin of poetry in his book an apology for Poesy. He also answers the charges made by Puritans against the function of poetry. He considers poetry as a source of preaching morality and knowledge. He analyzes the use of poetry for the reformation of man. He considers that it will delight our minds and soul. He gives references to Italian and French critics in his works in order to highlight the literary tradition. He seems to be influenced by Aristotle and Horace. He quotes much from their poetical works. He generates a critical opinion about the works of these writers. It does not seem that he only focuses to summarize the literary work but he analyzes these works very deeply. His approach is from classical to contemporary ideas and writers. So, An Apology of Poetry as is an epitome of Renaissance criticism
Sidney’s views on contemporary poetry and drama
As far as What is the historical context of an apology for poetry is concerned Sidney tries to justify his censorship of the English literature of his era. He has critical reviews about the contemporary genre of literature. He has expressed his ideas about contemporary tragedy and comedy. He tries to interpret the behaviour of the critics to the poet of his time in England. He was greatly surprised at the degradation of contemporary poetry and drama. He says that he has witnessed the writers of his era as the makers of themselves. The dramas produced in this era were a blend of tragedy and comedy. He was against such a combination. He does not favour this idea. He says that these should be criticized because of this combination. The only tragedy produced in this era was GORBUDUC. He says that this play was characterized by stately dialogues and actions. It is considered a model tragedy for all tragedies. He says that the tragedies and the comedies of this era can’t fulfil the demand of the time. These plays fail to follow the unities of time and place. He condemns such plays for mingling the king and clowns. He is against the mixture of tears and laughter. He says that the only end of these comedies is to produce laughter among the audience and nothing else. He is of the view that the writers do not care for the true delight represented by these plays. He exaggerates his ideas to condemn contemporary lyrical poetry. It is concerned mainly with the subject of love. He is of the view that this lyrical poetry only depicts false and artificial sentiments. It can never be produced from the true feeling practised by the poet. He laments the defects of contemporary lyrical poetry.
His views about metre and rhyme
He presents his views on the composition of poetry. He considers the METRE and rhyme necessary for the formation of the poetical creation. He employs different ideas in order to distinguish between the verse and the prose. He says that the book written in verse form cannot be titled as a piece of poetry. Because there is no essential use of rhyme and METRE has been done. He makes it compulsory to use the METRE to get a refined poetical work. He quotes the example from Milton and Shakespeare. They employed the METRE in order to give a special touch to their plays. Paradise Lost was written without a rhyme scheme.
Sidney’s contribution to literary criticism
He has been regarded as the father of criticism by his contemporaries. His inspiration came from ancient classical works. He was greatly inspired by Aristotle and he read his poetics to understand the origin of poetry. He advocates poetry and becomes critical in the defence of poetry. He favours the views of Aristotle narrated in his poetics. He also describes poetry as the source of delight and morality. He has criticized contemporary values. He initiated dramatic criticism in England by criticizing contemporary tragedies and comedies. His criticism is unique and effective. His document an apology for poetry is a model work and serves as an epitome of renaissance criticism.