Definition of Renaissance criticism :
The literary criticism of the Renaissance developed classical ideas of unity of form and content into literary neoclassicism, proclaiming literature as central to culture, entrusting the poet and the author with preservation of a long literary tradition. Sir Philip Sidney (November 30, 1554 – October 17, 1586) was one of the most prominent poets of the Elizabethan era. Sir Philip Sidney’s influence can be seen throughout the history of English literary criticism since the publication of the The Defence of Poesie, which is also frequently referred to by its other title, An Apology for Poetry. It is believed that Much of Sidney's literary fame also rests on his essay The Defence of Poesie, which is now considered one of the most important early works of literary criticism to be found in the English language.
An Apology for Poetry is the most important contribution to Renaissance literary theory as well. In it Sidney advocates a place for poetry within the framework of an aristocratic state, while showing concern for both literary and national identity. Sidney responds in Apology to an emerging antipathy to poetry that saw works like Stephen Gosson’s The Schoole of Abuse (1579). According to Sidney the significance of the nobility of poetry, , is its power to move readers to virtuous action. True poets must, as Sidney says, teach and delight—a view that dates back to Horace. Apology for Poetry is one of several English defenses against moralistic or philosophical attacks on poetry, drama, and music. One of these attacks, Stephen Gosson’s School of Abuse (1579), was dedicated to Sidney and possibly prompted the writing of the Defence. The Defence has the structure of a classical oration, a literary form much utilized in Renaissance education and later adopted in Milton’s Areopagitica (1644). Rejecting the methodical order of a treatise and the fantastic elaboration of...
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