The Defence of Poesy is the first major piece of literary criticism in English. Taking aim at classical authors who disparaged poetry, and contemporary critics who saw literature as a corrupting influence, Sidney foregrounds the moral force of poetry. Sidney considers the real life affects of poetry upon the reader arguing that the stories instill virtues like courage in the reader. He combines this moral argument with a discussion of the technical features like genre, metre and rhyme. The Defence of Poesy thus began a long tradition of poets writing about poetry and is a touchstone for modern poetic criticism.
Liam Haydon was educated at Queen's University Belfast and the University of Manchester, where he wrote a PhD on Milton's Paradise Lost. He is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the Centre for the Political Economies of International Commerce at the University of Kent. His work focuses on the cultural history of the seventeenth century, exploring connections between the corporation, economic ideology, and literature.
Ways in to the text Who was Philip Sidney? What does Defence of Poesy say? Why does Defence of Poesy matter? Section 1: Influences Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context Module 2: Academic Context Module 3: The Problem Module 4: The Author's Contribution Section 2: Ideas Module 5: Main Ideas Module 6: Secondary Ideas Module 7: Achievement Module 8: Place in the Author's Work Section 3: Impact Module 9: The First Responses Module 10: The Evolving Debate Module 11: Impact and Influence Today Module 12: Where Next? Glossary of Terms People Mentioned in the Text Works Cited