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PatrickMcEvoy-Halston English 359S01 Dr. R. M. Schuler 28 March 2002 Critical Movements Sir Philip Sidneyrefersto Utooia asa'lerfect way of patterninga Commonwealth" (117), which might, to ris, easilybe understood a reference Sir ThomasMore's exploration as to i., of Utonia's utopiu-rrru-, to book two of Utooia. It is.afterall in book two whereMore, courtly listeners.dndfor throughhis character RaphaelHythloday,unfoldsboth for his created us)'thenatureof this ideal commonwealth calledUtopia. But Sidneydoesnot limit his attention in his Defencesolelyto fine exarrplesof worts of poesy. Sitlney,in making a defencefor poesy,attuacts attentionto the importance attending both to poesy'saudience ernbattled our of andto poesy's'lnaker," the poet,in evaluations a work's poetidworth. .{!!r our own of matrix acquaintance with Sidney'sseveralexamples the Defencewhich depictthe interturined in shouldbe of the poet,his poesy,andhis public, rveknow that not oneofthese threeelernents

i.-iknowing Sidney that refers in ofanalysing oftherlin isolation. any Therefore, , (detached favour l:!j
to the '\rhole Commonwealth'(117) asthe particularaudience hasin mind for More's work, he Utooia's first book asof I with our "erectedwit" (Sidney 109),we do not ultimately misconstrue secondary importancefor our evaluation.The gentlerrenin book one are,after all, debatingthe plausibility of "conecting erors" (7) in their "own cities,nations,. . . andkingdoms" (?)-,Still, we leaveourselves avenues' investigation which leadto two opposite with two possible of
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of findings: if, fallingpreyto our'oinfected will" (Sidney109),we makethemistake following
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our initial impulseandfocuson the second book,wejudge Utopiaasnot fully satisffing Sidney'srequirements poesy,that is, we cannotimagineourselves for beingmovedto imitate

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Utopiansor their coilrmonwealth; assuming Sidney'sDefence worksto "move . . . us hbwever,
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to do that which we knoy;: (SidneyI23), with both booksin mind, we find that More very well
"practice[s] what Sidney preaches"(Schuler2), i.e., he creates, Utopia, a work which might in just effect the considerablefeat of helping to improve a whole commonwealth. ',,Before exploring the basis for our investigation.of Utopia--what Sidney believes a poetic
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work to be--wemustfirst acknowledge the natureof the relationship that between poet and the '. -i\ ,'. hisftreraudience not entirelyabsent $&i€€L,for-our*eonternplation is asa in book two of Utopia.
Admittedly, a teller, Raphael,as well as More's createdcourtly listeners,,are a sense"there" in ' :
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at for throughout book two, but theyonly emerge/'as text's prime subjects our consideratioq the

with theendof thework. Compared thebulk of whatconstitutes two,andcompared to book of and, whatbookoneprovides, areoffered a s+trreto-fthem. Thissnippet Ra.phael in . we but
particular,his listenerthe character ThomasMore engaging with eachother,is indeedworthy of
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our notice;but, considering buik of what constitutes the book two,.wemay only lanowto take


notice if we havenot misconceived book one asa'1nere" intoduction andthus oflittle import. Somethingsimilar canbe saidof Sidney'swork: ifwe give scantattentionto how Sidneybegins (fool?) the readerto his DefenceofPoesy, perhaps imaginingit as"simply''a deviceto persuade explorefirther, we arelikely to forget to properly attendto Sidney'sJobnPieto Pugliano.If we areguilty of this "sin," we areaptly punished: we would miss discoveringhow this key example -ofSidney's helpsunlock the real worth of Utooia asa poetic work. Sidneyboth direcfly andindirectly tells us how poesyworks andwhat it doesseveral with atterrptsto distinguishpoesyfrom two other times in the text, usually in combination poets in "disciplines"--philosophyandhistory. In the midst of his argument which he promotes over philosophers, Sidneytells us that 'qthe inward light eachmind hath in itselfis asgoodas a philosopher'sbook" (123), andthat'tn naturewe know it is well to do well, andwhat is well



andwhat is evil" (123). Because learned men already know whatthe philosopher aimsto teach poesysuperior philosophysincepoesyworks to move"learnedmen . . . them,Sidneydeems to to do that which [they] . . . know, or to be movedwith desire know" (123). Poesy moves to men;to Sidney, is whatpoesydoes. that In his refutationof the philosopher's to claim of superiority the poet,Sidneyalso indirectly suggests what poesyis--thatis, what it is aboutpoesythatmakesit movemen--by in drawingattention the manner which philosophers to moyllr1 Hepresenls witn a "perfect y,.f



picture" (Sidney 116) of moral philosophersstepping forth to challengehim.""rudely clothed for to witness outwardly their contempt of outward things, with books in their hands against gloty'_ (l l3). /As Sidney claims that poesyis superiorto philosophybecause would o'winthe goal" it (l 16) i, O**eneral preceptand by particular example,;if*, turn to the secondbook of Utopia


in believethat Sidney's with the detailsof this imageof moralphilosophers ou minds,fwe visually strikingimageof the particularphilosopher inhibitsus from learningfrom More's notion"(Sidney116)(i.e.,the overallconception) Utopia'smoralphilosophy. of "general More tells us that the Utopianmoral philosophyis not disdainfulof pleasure, evenof pleasure(56). They in fact 'think it is crazyfor a man to despise sensual beautyof forn"(56). However,Sidney's-example and a ofmoral philosophers, because excitesour senses creates it lastingmemoryfor us to draw upon,conflicts with andultimately overwhelmsthe impression this "fact" hasuponus. His examplg in fact, works to *draw ouf'details in the text which , L,r, ' ratherthan asbeingbarely tolerantof-sensual pleasures.For examplg we ooticethai More | ., .,,, introducesthe sectionon moral philosophyby telling us how Utopiansare"amazedat th , 2* , ", . " foolishness any man who considers of himself a nobler fellow because wearsclothing of a :'!.' . he as complicateany easyassumption our part that the Utopiansarebestunderstood enjoyingon
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speciallyfine wool" (4S),whereinwe hear"echoes"of Sidney'spoorly clothedphilosophers





oiticizing glory. Furtho, thoughwe aretold that the Utopianstakepleasure outwardthings, in we arenow primed to attendto the thingsthey takelittle visual pleasure from, suchasgold and silver, andlittle olfactory, or gustatorypleasure we from, suchasfood or drink. Sarcastically ask in ourselves what remainsfor themto takein "earthly'' delights? Sincethey take suchpleasure music,the privileged portal mustbe.theirears;andtheir eyes,thoughthey igrore the glitter of . , .."..,i'.
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preciousmetals,do marvel at the sta$ (48). But again,anotherof Sidney'sperfectpicturer \. 'i


"emerges"from our memoryandinfrudesin our readingof the text: Sitlneyhas!r imaginingr. tlreg asfoolish philosophers busy admiringthe stars,and attendingto "celestial" music,that so they'lnight fall into a ditch . . . " (l 13)! True, itmay be arguedthat it is misleadingto focus on Sidney'sridicule of thosewho do, after all, "by knowledge[seek] . . . to lift up the mind from the dungeon the body'' (Sidney of 113), when,referring to "lhe mostbarbarous simpleIndians" (105),he scomfully refersto and these"lndisns"' need"to find a pleasure the exercise in ofthe mind" (105) lest "their hard dull wits [arenever] soften{ andsharpened with the sweetdeli$ts of Poety''(105). In Utopia"so.
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pleasures. . proceeds, . theargument since alsohave"Indians" who"[o]fall thedifferent we but
.,, i ' .. j. .'!-c. " I.. t'. .- , rt:'') concen:ing"Indians" in the Defence,we arelikely to atterd foremostto this discrepancy

disparaging remarks sep.k mostlythose themind" (More55),surely of considering Sidney's

ssionof the Utopians. betweenSidney's"fact" andMore's "fiction" while fomrulatingou1impre_ expandupon, not Exactly: we both attendto andwonderat {ris quriosiq6ana,as@ryilt soo-n being childre,n, believe ourselves we unmovedby it. Instead,Sidney'simageof the simply ofa clothedpriggish philosophers, because ofits humorousexaggeration selectionof characteristics we,--being a time whenphilosophers of have"falle,n"(Sidney 103)"from almost the highestestimationof leaming" (Sidney 103)--mightalreadybe inclined to associate with philosophers, changes how we encounter Utopians: we imposea clearandvivid counter the ' :'"

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imageon the amalgamated of imagewe compose from More's descriptions the Utopiansthat The makesthemseemat leastasprudishandabsent-minded aesthetic practical-minded. as and resultis that they seemlessworthy of our ernulation, our conception Utopia asa poetic of and

work is thereby lessened.

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to Sidneyoffersanother definitionof whatpoesyis whenhe attempts demonstrate

poesy'ssuperiority history. Herehe doesso throughthe useof a precept:poesydoesnot-tfo- :, to / !': / ' whathistorydoes. History's fashioners--historians--ade "inquisitiveofnovelties fwhich makes \'t,
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of them]. . . awonder youngfolks" (114). Qlul.4rd, whenwe turn to More's example d to to designed both has utopia,we notethat eachsection thereina particularnoveltyseemingly


attract attentionandto makeus wonder. Within the section"Their Work Habits,"we learn our titled "Socialand that they devoteonly six hourseachday to work (38)! Within the section Business Relations," learnthatmen at markettakewhat they want without payment(41-42)l we Within the section"Travel andTradein Utopia," we learnthat "anyonewho takesuponhimself punished . ." (45)! And we mustnot . . to leavehis districtwithout permission . . is severely forgetto mentionthe two mostnotableexamples More's methodof highlightingnovelties. of metalshavesuchlittle value("which Within the sectionon gold andsilver,we learnthatthese

othernationsglve up with asmuchagonyasif they werebeingdisemboweled" k47))that all of pots aremadeof these the Utopianschamber materials!And within the sectionon marriage of are to we customs, learnthatbrides-to-be shownunclothed their groomsasa means ensuring
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ti goodpoesy believes of happilymarriedcouples! Thir utopiadoesdo a number thingsSidney not time doesandthathistorydoesnot do. It is setin a contemporaneous (114). It is obviously of or limited in conception what 'owct.q" evenis ( 120). It doesoffer us an example a 'house to
',/ t The text evendemonstrates its from herethat it both anticipates expects andxijiie-d-)eaction us by preceding and presentation "they solemnlyandseriously to with the comment, follow a cirstomwhich seemed us foolish and absurd the exffeme"(61). in

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presentation harmonious well in model"(116),thatis, a well thought thorough and ofa society,
and .,'for our consideration oitiqueTBut, leamingfrom Sidneyto be watchful of our own reaction to odd noveltieswhich might capturea child-like mind, it is difficult for us to imagineourselves asinspiredenoughto either createa betterworld (bemovedto do), or to leam more aboutthe Utopians(bemovedwith desireto know) after our encounter with More's fic$onal .'
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and how it works should not be influenced by our own reaction to More's work. Furthermore,' '
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we ought to take care not to believe ourselvesunmoved simply becausewe think we have not

what we know (gnosis)andhow we ; , ., beenaffectedby a work-i.e., therep?,y bg diJcordbetween of actuallybehave(praxis). We will now both explainandexplorethe importance thesetwo self-administered checkson our initial rushto judgrnent,towardsa way of seeingUtopia as
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servingratherwell asaTpoetifwork.

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Sidneydoesnot believethat a work canbejudged aspoeticbeforenoting its effect on its Sidneyhasin mind intendedaudience; we, thoughleamed,arenot the particularaudience and when he praisesMore's work. Admittedly, Sidneydoesgive somesupportfor a conceptionof predictably,andrmiversallyfollows poesywhich assumes a certainreactionnecessarily, that from experiencing work ofart. He usesthe authorityof Aristotle, andAristotle's judgrnentof a '\rith the universalconsideratiorf'(119),to help enhance persuasiveness poesyasconcemed the of his argument.However,he alsotakescareto tell us that, accordingto Aristotle, "the universal ' (,+ {o br -l:--' weighswhat/is saidor done" (119),which, thouglrlitoally meaningthat ererything saidor done
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is waluated againsta constant sl4e of mind of th9'noet fiutl, at leastimplies th/well reasoned who takesnote of the inconstansies sees hearsabouthim. Sucha mind is Sidney's,who he and we "see" refer to the effect poesyhason leamedmen,and"heat'' wam of the effectsofbad



poesy--bare, unimproved history--has uninformed inexperienced on listeners.Sidney and understands whatmight movea learned that manmight borea child,just aswhat might move a child would ill-pleasethe learned.Sidneyteaches that ajudgmentof a work aspoesy us necessarily involvesattending the natureof the particularsortof audience particularwork of to a poesyis designed affect. to shouldnot Indeed, asreaders the Defence, and we, of knowingits examples arguments, attendto brjg_rtlruryrd asto focusour attention Utopia'ssecond on book. W;, instead, a Sidney'sreference Utopia in the Defence; to notethat Sidn"yp.uirrs More for fashioning work and manbestplacedto shape commonwealth; know to which would aid the particularlearned a judge Utopia asan example poesyon its likelihoodof moving sucha man to eithermakethe of book then,to consider attemptor to learnmore asto how bestto do so. We arewell directed,

its of oneof Utopia inmaking our assessment, the subject influenceat court constitutes as primaryinterest. We mustacknowledge Sidneydoesnot refer specificallyto Utopia asa good that with which to example with which to influencea prince;rather,he saysit is a goodexample
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(l inspirea'khole Commonwealth" l7). However,in Utopia,whenMore (throughhid cbaracter to his he argues for Raphael ma<imize influence shouldaim to servea prince,we are that Yool offereda characteization the importance a princewhich shouldinfluenceour readingof of of meaning Sidney'sintended here. More says, people'swelfareandmiseryflows in a stream "a of from their prince,asfrom a never-failing the spring"(8). More defines princeasthe source courtier,andby societaldestruction reconstruction. and Sidneyboth naturally,asan Elizabethan that we example, with his affernpt promotepoesyasthe sovereign to discipline,unless assume Sidneyis radicalenough imaginethe poetasbeingableto bypass king andeffecta to the transformation a commonwealth of througha directappeal the people,showsthathe shares to




More's conception the princeasthe ultimatesource anyreinvigoration a commonwealth. of of of Sincethe princehasadvisors the purpose informinghisjudgmenton, for example, for matters of
,, of policy, we believe the advisor to a prince the particular audienceSidney has in mind when he praisesMore's Utopia. If the just mentioned radical alternative seemstoo tempting to leave unexplored, to help weaken its appeal,we refer our readerto Sidney's praise for poesy's ability to "beautiry" (121) historians'recitationsof "counsel,policy, orwar stratagem"(121), wherein we hear ofboth counsel and policy in a passageabout the good service of advisersto "princes." Of course,Raphael doubts some aspectsof More's charactenzationof the prince--for instance, he thinks a prince is best understoodas someonewho makes wars, not commonwealths (8)-which, if we believe his account of princes over More's own, might have us imagine a prince as

war in complet etV mightfind something theUtopians' in Utopia.Such prince a ffierested inspires butthissortof inspiration leads solely the to stratagems interests even that him, and
though,nevercallsinto destruction cofirmonwealths, to their reconstruction. not Raphael, of question actualpowerof a prince. His disagreement More concerns dispositionof the with the the prince,andtherefore at alsothe effectiveness virtuousadvisers court--asubjectwe will of
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ytth tobor, oyrrsefves Iateron. poet offers-us example anencounter of Sidney an between would-be tryingto affecta a
learnedman--Sidney, himself--in the Defence; in fact, such an encounterservesas his introduction to the work. hr the exordium, Sidney tells us of his encounterwith John Pi"O?, .



of Pugliano,ffid of Pugliano'sattempt "enrich" (102) Sidney'smind asto the greatness hif to (Pugliano's) placement equerryat Emperor to as Maximilian II's court. From attending Sidney's account his own reactionto Pugliano, notethatthe learned manis well awareof man's of we natureto enjoy self-flattery, the lengthof time a teller takesin tellinglls_ta$ andof the of

possiblerelation of teller to listener as one of masterto servant(102).,Guilty of telling a drawn


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out tale which is intended promotehimselfandto demean to others(to makethemwant to be horses, ratherthantheir riders(102)),Pugliano presented an example the ineptpog(.qot of is as both our consideration contemplation. and \ Beforewe compare with how we might imaginea sortof Sidney'sreactionto Pugliano


it learned man--one who hopesto influencea prince--reacting Utopia'sRaphael, is important to to notethat Sidneyclearlydoesnot want to introduce argument boringhis audience.That his by poetry'sworth by engaging familiarizinghis learned is, sinceSidneywantsto demonstrate and audience with poesy'sart, he obviouslyassumes the learned that enjoybeing partyto the playful ridicule of foreign(Italian),9i9*-g.r Presumably, learned man,aswith Sidney,alsoenjoys the

(SidneyI 02-103), remaining demonstrating he hasnot beenmoved,not been"persuaded" that with composed, contemplative, critical of both the "poesy''andthe "poet" afterhis encounter and man them. Sidneysuggests, though,thatthis psychicstance be deceiving-thatthe learned can canbe movedby "bad" poesy. Sidneyby example demonstrates he is himself sufficiently that 'bad" poesyto makeit the introduction his Defence; to movedby his encounter with Pugliano's with Pulgianoseryes, alongwith the poor regardpoesyis held andhe impliesthathis experience in, asa "spring-board" from which to investigate nafureof "good" poesy. the The mostprominentexamples Sidneyoffersof "good" poesydraw our attentionasmuch, as or more,to the "poet," andthe e{ct he hason his audience, to his "poetic" tale. We do not to encounter the DefencelengthylryWy_tif poesy;Sidney'smethodis instead wow us with in himself Agrppa, who, "thoughhe behaves the abilitiesof a "singular"individual,like Menenius his that "sucheffectin like a homelyandfamiliar poet" (I25), so "masters" audience he creates the[m] . . . that words. . . broughtforth so sudden so goodan alteration"(125). Why is this? and If we notethat the effectof Agrippaon tli;-J"rans is asexaggeratedly zed characteri as (thatit almost purported Pugliano's effecton Sidney makes him wish himselfa horse(102)),we

McEvoy-Halston 10

seea pattern: Sidney'saccount Agrippaandthe Romans of in makes him comparable his
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storytblling "ineptness" to Pugliano. Indeed, in his Defence, Sidn'ey,lwarns early on that he, as us

with Pugliano, presenting with examples his "strongaffection"(103)(i.e.,his is us of (103)(i.e., overenthusiastic desireto peluade) @g!1gg to tl5: gt"qtionof "weak arguments" ripe accounts) of goodmaterial. Unlike Pugliano, out is Sidneyos "ineptness]' del,ipergtely
'":* ' to move his learnedreadersto embracehis argument. Sidney's learned fashioned , 'tr ' /

purefolly; judge it asunpersuasive-contemporaries, might, at first, think mostof the argument philosopher!; but especially claim that the playful poetis monarch the overthe portentous (with its humourandits daring) presented ultimatelyfind themselves revisitingthe memorably in defence their minds,in their memory andfinding someusein practicefor the ideasSidney hasput forth. In sum,modiffingan expression Sidney's, cansaythatto Sidney "a w€ of (120),atleastwith asmuchforcetoteach a ['good'] . . . exulmple" as ['bad']. . . examplehath the learned. It is in book oneof Utopiathat the learned reader who prideshimselfon his insusceptibility foolery,perhap$due beingo'apiece a logician" (SidneyL02)himself, to to of who likely notesthe discrepancy the between natureof a teller andhis tale. The Utopians, in "actuallypractice"(26) "the kind of thing that Platoadvocates his Republic"(26), are in described book two asbeingrootedto their isle: it is their minds,"in their diligenceand zeal to learn"(30),which "move" about. Raphael,"eager seetheworld" (5), is a sailorwho, Yet to with themthathe "would evenafterencountering Utopiansandclaimingto be so impressed the neverhaveleft" (29),remainsa manforeveron the go, living, oshe tells us, much ashe pleases (7-8). The learned why in man,knowinghis Greek,is sureto takepleasure understanding As Raphael Hlhloday is to be understood, pd, asa "speaker non-sense." with the in of Defence, likely leaves narator--whoin this case alsothe charu.t#fnomas fufor.1l*no this the is

McEvoy-Halston 11

in at remainsa sceptic, who remains, part,unmoved, unconvinced, "story's" end,asthe ffid personthat the learned with andimaglnehimself as. readeris mostlikely to sympathize


Raphael a point, on At the endof book two, More tells us thathe would like to challenge '.wastired of talking" (84), andasMore remains unsure whether but, notingthat Raphael him in matters"(84),he placates with praiseandleads Raphael "could takecontradiction these of tale him to dinner. This odd "foreigr" storyteller $gfagl, with his over-lenqthy consisting clearlyis a delight interesting thoughoften absurd ideas,andwith his clownishimperialpersona, with More that, is he to More. Raphael harmless; is not glventhe authorityto win his argument to to evendeliveredwith skilful attendance the likes anddislikesof a court,it is impossible give wo goodideasa fair hearingat court. Instead, muchaswith Sidney'sPugliano, learnthat a good is to way of deliveringnew ideasandto get listened by courtiers, to framethemwithin a story or in as dealingwith topicsof clearinterest--such an Italiancourtier,andfine horses the Defence, peoples"andtheir "strange to worlds" in Utopia--but create of "strange "room" for the learned himselffrom the teller andhis tale,so thathe doesnot listenerto "distance"anddistinguish Goodadviceto imagineour would-bepoet as"monarch"(Sidney123)andhimselfas'osubject." consideration, win the ear,mind, andheart,of an advisor, well asfor him to gainthe attention, as andinspirationof a prince. "Entertain"(More 7) the prince,andoffer him a "supplyof (More 7) to discard, he mightjust keep"a few" with him--perhaps help reto examples" and invigoratea "fallen" (Sidney103)coillmonwealth worthy of the "highest onceconsidered (SidneyI 03). estimation" an Utopia,if we includeboth its first andsecond books,is well framedto both entertain which advisorandto inform his address a prince. It is alsowell stocked to with suggestions might be refinedinto promisingpolicy changes with which to improvea commonwealth. Utopia r,s work of poesy. And, if we consider sortof literaturethat follows Utopiain a the

McEvoy-Halston 12

(with comedies sixteenth-century EnglandsuchasSpenser's FaerieOueen, Shakespeare's ffid precept goodpoesy, alongwith More's for their "greenworlds"),it may well be thatSidney's fine example it, movedat leastsomelearned mento attemptto influencea "prince." Their of sketchof a princefrom which somuch followed,wasboth "prince," after all, unlike Raphael's in acquainted with andinterested muchmorethansimply "the artsof war" (More 8): Elizabeth stablecommonwealth maintaining--a in thereafter wasvery muchinterested re-constituting--and out of onedividedby (religious)strife. . .,/ __7l) -T_ why yj ' w9 to bgp_re_ p?4: we explqined Onelast thing needs be addressed /

to believethat, aftera closelook at both of Utopia'stwo books,we find Utopia colresponds what qualifiesa believes and by Sidney, both whathe directlystates by whathe indirectlyshows, work aspoetic [e havetold you-weknow to inform ourjudgmentwith a closelook at both the we booksof Utopia,ffid haverevealed conclusion believefollows from this; however,we havenot exempted ourselves from wilfully preferringto stick \y{h our initial impulse,andmake sincewe primarilybased Utopia'ssecond our assessment on book. Why is this? It is because, that from Sidney'sargument, only acknowledged we were ffid only claimedthat we learned would requirean exploration movedby its parts,not by its entirety,to makesuchan assessment Sidney's"definition" of whatpoesyis, but rather,how well not of how well Utopia satisfies That is, we would needto explorehow Sidney'sDefence itself "works" asa poeticconstruction.
it4al.,ll,rt I :;"

well the Defence itself moves us to do what we now knowto do. We will gladly explore this .\. ' '"(' ' and with you, but at anothertime, as we have already talked so much, kept you ov__e:long, burdened you with many novelties. And besides,we feel sure that "another such . . . opportunity will presentitself some dat'' (More 85).

McEvoy-Halston 13

Works Cited More, SirThomas. U@. Trans. RobertM. Adams. 2ndd. NewYork: Norton, 1992.

Essay." University of Victoria. Spring. 2W2. Schuler,RobertM. 'oTerm ProseandPoetry. Ed. RobertKimbrough. 2nd Sidney,Sir Philip. Sir Philip Sidney: Selected P, ed. Madison: U of Wisconsin 1983.

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