Mouse-eaten records

Fudge, Erica; Simon, Zoltán Boldizsár and Diele, Lars, eds. (2022) Mouse-eaten records. In: Historical Understanding. Bloomsbury, London, pp. 251-259. ISBN 9781350168794

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In his Defence of Poetry of c.1579 (first published 1595), Sir Philip Sidney ([1579] 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' ([1579] 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 ([1579] 1966: 24). In this way, the imaginative depiction of heroes and heroic actions, he believed, could lead readers to virtuous emulation.


Fudge, Erica ORCID logoORCID:; Simon, Zoltán Boldizsár and Diele, Lars