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Scenes of Instruction in Renaissance Romance$
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Jeff Dolven

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226155364

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226155371.001.0001

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Maxim

Maxim

Chapter:
(p.99) Chapter Three Maxim
Source:
Scenes of Instruction in Renaissance Romance
Author(s):

Jeff Dolven

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226155371.003.0004

This chapter focuses on Philip Sidney's Arcadia, outlining the book's larger struggle with its own didacticism by attending to a particular trope: the preeminent feature of Arcadia's style, the sententia, or moral maxim. It considers what happens when school sententiae become the very texture of a romance, the signal feature of its dialect. C. S. Lewis wrote fifty years ago that “maxims of law, government, morals, or psychology … are scattered on nearly every page” of Arcadia, and his “nearly” represents something of an undercount. They are everywhere, and they are a key both to Sidney's bearing toward the culture of teaching in which he was raised, and to the antididactic project of this first draft of his pastoral romance.

Keywords:   Philip Sidney, didacticism, sententia, moral maxim, teaching, romance

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