In 1595 two London printers brought out separate editions of the late Sir Philip Sidney’s poetic manifesto, a work written perhaps fifteen years earlier. One called it An Apologie for Poetrie; the other, The Defence of Poesie (i.e. Poetry); it has been known by both names ever since.
These two contending (and contentious) titles pose interesting questions. Each proposes an adversarial position relative to some assumed but unstated antagonism; each implies the voice of a polemical champion as apologist or defender, as if poetry were too feeble to justify itself. The two titles ask us to consider from, or for what, poetry has to be protected or pardoned.
“Defence” is …
Preston, Claire. "A Defence of Poetry". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 July 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=7200, accessed 06 December 2016.]