Philip Sidney: Arcadia

(1098 words)

There is no work of imaginative fiction more influential in its own time than Sidney’s Arcadia. The prose romance was read, referred to, and imitated by major and minor writers throughout the 1590s and into the mid-seventeenth century: in Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, and Richardson, its force is felt. It appealed no less to the non-professional reader, and was a bestseller for more than a century.

The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, to give it its full title, owes much to continental and classical models in the pastoral and romance modes by Theocritus, Vergil, Heliodorus, Montemayor and Sannazaro. It was initially conceived as a relatively light-hearted chivalric pastoral-romance in five books telling t…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Preston, Claire. "Arcadia". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 March 2006
[, accessed 04 July 2015.]