In his Defence of Poetry of c.1579 (first published 1595), Sir Philip Sidney ( 1966: 29) argued that knowledge should lead to 'virtuous action', its aim being 'well-doing and not … well-knowing only.' Of all kinds of writing, he proposed, poetry could achieve this best because it was able to go beyond nature: it could represent worlds in ways that were not limited to what was present in reality, and so could inspire new possibilities. The poet, Sidney wrote, 'makes a Cyrus' ('a figure of manly virtue' ( 1966: 82)), not in order to reproduce the Cyrus of ancient reality, but to represent him in a way that 'make[s] many Cyruses' in the present ( 1966: 24). In this way, the imaginative depiction of heroes and heroic actions, he believed, could lead readers to virtuous emulation.
|Title of host publication||Historical Understanding|
|Subtitle of host publication||Past, Present and Future|
|Editors||Zoltán Boldizsár Simon, Lars Diele|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 10 Dec 2020|
- animal studies