There is no work of imaginative fiction more influential in its own time than Sidney’s


. 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 the story of the princesses Pamela and Philoclea, the beautiful daughters of Duke

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Citation: Preston, Claire. "Arcadia". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 March 2006 [, accessed 29 May 2024.]

6542 Arcadia 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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