Sir Philip Sidney: Courtier Poet Paperback – 26 Sep 1991
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Top Customer Reviews
D-J describes Sidney as not a handsome youth marked by acne and a bad temper, but at some stage in the book seems to resort herself to the ideal of the Elizabthan courtier that she has set out to correct. Markedly unsuccessful in worldy terms despite being entrusted with political embassies at the tender age of 22, he dies at 30 after a few year's marriage to Francis Walsingham, leaving his father-in-law to pay off all his debts.
There is little sense of Sidney's inner life, his relationships with his brother Robert (father of the Jacobean poet Mary Wroth) or his sister Mary; and his relationship with Leicester (his uncle) lacks coherence.
Perhaps ultimately D-J is being too scrupulous to the sources as reigns in her imagination too far. Whatever the cause, this is an oddly sterile book for such a provocative subject.
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My only disappointments with the book are that Duncan-Jones hardly deals at all with Sidney's sister Mary, an interesting person in her own right and crucial to Sidney's life and after-life; and the decision not to talk about the funeral and the fate of Leicester and the Netherlands afterwards. She wittily displays the long visual portrayal of the funeral along the end pages of the book, but some accompanying text would have been nice.