Author: Robert E. Stillman
Author info: Professor of English
Publication Date: July 2008
Synopsis: Celebrations of literary fictions as autonomous worlds appeared first in the Renaissance and were occasioned, paradoxically, by their power to remedy the ills of history. Stillman explores this paradox in relation to Philip Sidney’s “Defence of Poesy”, the first Renaissance text to argue for the preeminence of poetry as an autonomous form of knowledge in the public domain. Offering a fresh interpretation of Sidney’s celebration of fiction-making, Stillman locates the origins of his poetics inside a neglected historical community: the intellectual elite associated with Philip Melanchthon (leader of the German Reformation after Luther), the so-called Philippists.