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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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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

Method

Method

Chapter:
(p.173) Chapter Five Method
Source:
Scenes of Instruction in Renaissance Romance
Author(s):

Jeff Dolven

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226155371.003.0006

The newArcadia is in almost every way more extravagant than its predecessor. The old Arcadia is a chamber opera, the action of which is confined to the forest court of Duke Basilius, and the actors double or even triple up their roles: judge and father, prosecutor and counselor, Cleophila and Daiphantus and Pyrocles. The new Arcadia is grand opera by comparison, or better, epic—played out on battlefields and calling for a cast of thousands. This chapter explores the new Arcadia's new commitment to method—method being Sidney's new answer to the problem of how to make a book that teaches. The old Arcadia defied the didactic imperative by dismantling its own authority: it is full of teacherly flourish, and it ultimately refuses to teach. The revision follows a different course. Its most obvious innovation is its turn to epic, and it gains the requisite girth by digesting a mess of new episode and experience, a welter of new knowledge. Out of this new stuff, Sidney builds what amounts to an encyclopedia inside his fiction. The work that results is a strange hybrid of its ancient sources and the most up-to-date learning, a great experiment in how fiction and method might coexist. Most importantly, for Sidney, it is a work that can teach without a teacher.

Keywords:   Philip Sidney, epic, teaching, fiction

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