Renaissance Literary Theory

(3255 words)

Theories of literature are sometimes difficult to reconcile with literary practice, especially when the theory is overly prescriptive. An example occurs in Philip Sidney’s Defence of Poetry (1595). Waxing rigidly Aristotelian, Sidney writes that plays should observe unity of time and place and represent “but one” and “but one day” (Sidney: 1966, 65). He criticises plays in which we are asked to believe that the stage represents a “garden” one moment and the site of a “shipwreck” the next (65). He also takes a swipe at what he calls “mongrel” dramatic genres like tragicomedy for the way they mingle the gravitas that properly belongs to the representation of kings with the l…

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.

Citation:
Mousley, Andrew. "Renaissance Literary Theory". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 November 2009
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=942, accessed 21 April 2014.]


Related Groups

  1. Renaissance and Humanism