Favorite Sons The Politics and Poetics of the Sidney Family by Elizabeth Mazzola


Favorite Sons The Politics and Poetics of the Sidney Family by Elizabeth Mazzola

In this examination of Sir Philip Sidney, author of the famous romance, The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia , and his family, Elizabeth Mazzola argues that families are a form of poetic projects. The Sidney family, and members of the so-called 'Sidney circle' aimed to celebrate Sir Philip's life through literary tradition - they repeatedly turned to writing their own poetry as a vehicle to analyze or extend familial connections. Mazzola illustrates that Sidney's family, by celebrating the work of their brilliant loved one, actually demonstrated the unique attributes and transformation of the family in the early modern period.


Elizabeth Mazzola has written a stunning book on the centrality of the family in shaping the literary work of the Sidney family, wonderfully demonstrating how the Sidney's achieved stability by continuously reinventing themselves. Not only does Mazzola have very smart things to say about the literature produced by Sir Philip Sidney, Robert Sidney, Mary Herbert, and Mary Wroth, but also about Shakespeare, the development of prose, and romance. Her chapters on Mary Herbert's completion of Sir Philips translation of the Psalms and the Old Arcadia glitter with intelligence and verve. Favorite Sons will be the book to consult on the Sidneys, and it belongs in the library of anyone interested in early modern literature. - Peter C. Herman, San Diego State University Elizabeth Mazzola has written a powerful and nuanced account of Sidney's poetic legacy, to his family and to English Renaissance poetry. Mazzola brilliantly explains how that legacy, incomplete and unexpected, was appropriated, refracted, and reinvented in the work of his sister Mary, his brother Robert, and Robert's daughter, Lady Mary Wroth. This family project, in turn, illuminates a much wider field of early modern culture, allowing Mazzola to explore a rich web of connections among literary histories, the history of the family, and politics under the royal family of Elizabeth and her successor. Favorite Sons remaps the critical landscape of Sidney studies, to which it makes the most significant contribution of the last twenty years. - Ernesto B. Gilman,Professor of English, New York University

About the Author

ELIZABETH MAZZOLA is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the City College of New York, USA

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Book Info


160 pages


Elizabeth Mazzola
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Publication date

13th November 2003



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