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Book reviews for "Sidney,_Sir_Philip" sorted by average review score:

Sir Philip Sidney: A Study in Conflict (English Biography No 31)
Published in Library Binding by Haskell House Pub Ltd (1969)
Author: Henry C. Warren
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Update on Sir Philip Sidney, a study in conflict
I am writing in to correct m original review. Please note that the book is by C Henry Warren NOT Henry C Warren!

One of the few major studies of Sir Philip Sidney
This is a biography of the great Elizabethean figure Sir Philip Sidney written by my great-uncle C Henry Warren. It is a very positive view of a man who has received a rather mixed reaction over the centuries. The style may seem to some people in the 1990s a bit "dated". However the work, like all of Henry Warren's best writing work is well researched while at the same time popular in the best sense. The biography inspired Richard Church (a friend of Henry Warren and also a writer from the same era) to write his reasonably well known poem about Sidney.

Philip's Phoenix: Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke
Published in Hardcover by Oxford Univ Pr on Demand (1990)
Author: Margaret P. Hannay
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Excellent, well-written account of Mary's life and works
Crucial for anyone writing about the Sidneys, this book is balanced, fascinating and readable. Hannay's impeccable research includes the religious background, which is somewhat rare among Sidneyians; she doesn't waste time on speculation, which is the abiding fault of Duncan-Jones' biography of Philip Sidney. I can't wait for Hannay's edition of the Countess's works.

The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia (Penguin English Library)
Published in Paperback by Viking Press (1977)
Authors: Philip, Sir Sidney and Maurice Evans
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A monument of dullness?
T.S. Eliot labelled Sidney's Arcadia as a "monument of dullness," and about 100 pages into the book, I felt inclined to agree with his assessment. Sidney was a poet first and foremost, and even he admitted to his sister, the Countess of Pembroke, that this particular work was but "a trifle."

Yet, surprisingly, I found myself getting captivated by the plot of two princes disguised as shepherds to win the girls of their dreams (in the process, of course, they also win girls -- and guys -- of their nightmares). The somewhat stilted (even by Renaissance standards) language makes it difficult to plod through at times, but the plot is interesting and keeps your attention -- and that's ultimately what counts.

Re: this edition, it is one of the few good editions of the original "Old" Arcadia around. Sidney revised the work during his lifetime and his friend and biographer, Fulke Greville, later published a bizarre composite of the old and revised versions that for centuries stood as the definitive "Arcadia". K. Duncan-Jones provides a clean text with useful scholarly apparatus. One caveat: in my edition, pp. 297-306 were *missing*, mistakenly replaced by a double-printed pp. 307-316. This is an annoyance for someone who is reading the book as a scholar, which I believe represents the majority readership of the book, as I can't imagine casual readers picking it up for bedstand reading!
All in all, a fun work and better than the first act leads one to believe!

Silver Poets of the Sixteenth Century: Sir Thomas Wyatt, Henry Howard, Sir Walter Ralegh, Sir Philip Sidney, Mary Sidney, Michael Drayton, and Sir John Davies (Everyman's Library)
Published in Paperback by Everyman Paperback Classics ()
Author: Douglas Brooks-Davies
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An excellent little collection of 16th-Century poetry
This is a handy if somewhat eclectic little collection, with works by some poets who are hard to find elsewhere, such as Henry Howard. If you don't have a copy of the long-out-of-print Hebel and Hudson anthology of English Renaissance Poetry, pick up this.

The Making of Sir Philip Sidney
Published in Hardcover by Univ of Toronto Pr (1998)
Author: Edward Berry
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Sound Argument, Woeful Details
Berry made some good points in his book on Sidney's self-representation, but it needs to be read with great caution. It can be dangerous for an amateur, such as a 12-year-old who uses it as a source of knowledge. Even though his central argument stands unimpaired, Berry's treatment of the Arcadia is a mess. He made so many unbelievable errors about the very basics of the Arcadia as a fiction--character names and plot--that one cannot help wondering if he had read the book twice or even once before he tried to write two lengthy chapters on it. In addition to Berry, University of Toronto Press is not free from blame. Many of the errors Berry made can be detected by someone who has never read the Arcadia before, and the Press apparently failed to see them. For instance, Berry assigns a speech to different characters at different places (only pages apart in his book). Confusing the protagonist's pseudonym and his mistress's name, Berry also has the young man consummate his love with himself. In the labyrinth of Berry's discussion of the plot and characters, one can see something comparable to Hamlet's love affair with Juliet or Macbeth's exile in the Forest of Arden. Certainly the Arcadia is a difficult book and Berry is not alone in making mistakes about the numerous characters and complicated plot. Still, Berry's book is an amazing oddity with its outstanding number of mistakes and his consistency in making them. It is a book useful not for an amateur but for a scholar. It teaches an important lesson: never attempt to write a book on something you know very little.

Review on the making of sir philip sidney
This was a great book for researching purposes. Not a joy reading book. If you are doing a report on Sir Philip Sidney for school, this is the best book avaliable. It talks about his life and how he became famous, as well as lots of his poetry. I did a report on the poet and used this book. I got an A on it, and so will you. The book was a big help, it is very easy to understand.

Sir Philip Sidney: Courtier Poet
Published in Hardcover by Yale Univ Pr (1991)
Author: Katherine Duncan-Jones
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Disjointed, difficult to follow.
Out of print? Good! This book is so filled with bits of extraneous material that it is almost impossible to follow. Despite considerable interest in the subject matter, and despite returning to the book four or five times, I could not distinguish which facts pertained to Sir Philip Sidney and which to the hundreds of people with whom he came into contact without almost graphing out the characters. It was worse than any Russian novel.

What a great book! This is biography at its best. Katherine Duncan-Jones succeeds in that most difficult of tasks - writing a biographical work that is at the same time scholarly and amusing. She paints a convincing portrait of this gifted, generous and tormented individual,who was also remarkably tolerant and warm-hearted for the times in which he lived. Sidney emerges from this book as a sophisticated and highly intelligent man who felt bitter and frustrated because of the unfair treatment he received at the hands of a capricious Queen, in whose service he nevertheless lost his very life. Altogether, I found Sidney very different from the typical Elizabethan - his dislike of hunting as a cruel, bloody sport, and his enlightened views on women are some of the traits in which we recognize a modern mind. And, nevertheless, after his absurd death he became a sort of hero or role-model for his contemporaries - many of whom hadn't recognized his worth while he lived. Duncan-Jones writes elegantly and in an entertaining style, quoting extensively from Sidney's writings as well as from those of his relatives and friends. I completely disagree with another reviewer, who criticized the "extraneous material" and the quantity of facts and persons in the book. No material is extraneous here: everything is relevant, either to Sidney's life or to the social and political context in which it must be viewed. As to the amount of characters - well, think about your own life: if someone were to write your biography, how many characters would there be? Four of five? I wouldn't trust a biography that didn't have many characters (even counting only the significant ones). After all, every person's life is complex - and full of other persons. All in all, this book is highly recommended - you'll gain a great awareness of an exceptional man.

Philip Sidney: A Double Life
Published in Hardcover by St. Martin's Press (2001)
Author: Alan Stewart
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Philip Sidney: A Boring Life (Until the end, when he dies)
Admittedly I've never read another biography of Philip Sidney, but this one was a tough read. The author choose a tough topic, the often venerated, seldom understood Sir Philip Sidney courtier during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. I decided to read this book because it received a good review in the Atlantic Monthly which said Philip Sidney has been considered a true life embodiment of Castiglione's Perfect Courtier. From what I could tell this was because he died long before he was old enough to do anything unlike a perfect courtier.

The "Double Life" suggests the different ways Sidney was appreciated in England and on the continent. At home, Sidney was constantly being stifled by the whims and maneouvres of the Queen. (Elizabeth's actions are not well justified in Stewart's portrayal.) On the Continent, Sidney is venerated,befriended, and appreciated by Protestants and Catholics alike, for reasons that are not well explained in the text.

The biography also struggles to portray Sidney as a person. I could never get a handle on his personality because it seems that there is not enough documentation to determine what he was really like. Everytime his life got interesting or controversial, records or letters are absent. Thus his story, while fundamentally uninteresting is compounded with a series of anticlimaxes. The only event which was well documented was his death. This was particularly frustrating (after 310 pages) as the reader does not know whether to weep or to cheer.

The problem with Pillip Sidney: A Double Life was whether it should have been written in this format at all. The text is much more useful as an academic reference than as a "good read," yet it is packaged and written as if it were filled with intrigue, controversy, romance and interest. It is not, and probably could not be written so, due to scores of missing letters or other substantive evidence.

I gave the book two stars because it did convey a great deal of information, uninteresting or otherwise. It also did not seem to fail for any reason on its own merits of argument or fact.

I question whether this book should have been published. While I'm sure the author knows a great deal about Elizabethan England, he did not know that there simply isn't enough information about Philip Sidney to either get excited or to write an entire book about.

It seems that the reasons Pilip was regarded as the Perfect Courtier will forever remain a mystery. Vain attempts to explain this will not succeed until more information is discovered.

A so-so rendering of a fascinating life
Alan Stewart's book might not be great (and, indeed, Katherine Duncan-Jones's biography of Sidney is, in my opinion, much more engrossing and insightful), but it is not as hopelessly boring as a previous reviewer would have us think. According to the opinions expressed by that reviewer, it would seem that any life that is not well documented would not be worth writing a biography about. That is obviously not so, since lack of evidence has always added to a subject's historical fascination. This is especially true of everything Elizabethan. I believe that Philip Sidney was indeed an interesting character, not least because of his tolerance and compassion in a world where neither of these virtues was terribly commonplace. I also believe he was a gifted writer. He was also a member of a politically active family in a politically driven, factious age. Any of these elements alone justifies writing a biography about him. So there's no question of a "boring life" here. I think that the problem here is that Stewart gives a lot of facts, but little insight into what Sidney was really like. In regard to aspects of his emotional life, such as his real feelings for Penelope Rich and his wife Frances, this is probably due to lack of evidence. But, in regard to his more-than-documented public life, that can hardly be the case. I would have appreciated more interpretation together with the naked facts. Also, I think that the subject of Sidney as a writer was insufficiently addressed. Katherine Duncan-Jones's biography is much better at both these issues, and it is the book I would recommend to anyone interested in this remarkable man. Let me say, however, that all is not wrong: Stewart's attempt at depicting Elizabethan politics and power struggles is good enough. This is not what I'd call a gripping book, but it's not a bad one either. What is clear, though, is that in no way can any of its flaws be attributed to its subject. Philip Sidney was certainly a fascinating person in a weird, enthralling, fascinating age.

The Classic Hundred Poems: All Time Favorites
Published in Audio CD by HighBridge Company (1998)
Authors: William Harmon, Sir Thomas Wyatt, Sir Walter Ralegh, Sir Philip Sidney, Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson, Robert Herrick, and George Herbert
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This collection is a travesty indeed. Great poems no doubt, but abysmally read. Furthermore they should have put all the introductions together separate and apart from the poems. It's nice to hear intros the first time around. But who wants to hear the intros everytime you listen to the poems? Sometimes I want to hear just a stream of poetry without any interuptions and this format makes that impossible. It's incredible that such a great concept could be so terribly executed.

Absolutely Terrible Readings
I could not get this back to the store for a refund quickly enough. While the poem selection is great and the poem introductions are narrated well, the choice to use "modern poets" as the readers made this compilation utterly unlistenable. The only one that I found acceptable was Anthony Hect--the others were notably bad. In particular, I found Jorie Graham's "readings" to be abysmal. She reads each poem as if it were simply a string of unconnected words, giving equal stress to each, with halting pauses between them, never breaking out of a drowsy monotone. Other readers were not much better.

There are three major flaws in the readings:

1) The readers are no better than the average untrained person, and often much worse. (You've just got to hear them for yourself to appreciate how bad they are.)

2) Successive poems by the same poet are read by different "readers." It's jarring to hear 3 or 4 poems from Poet X, each in a wildly different voice.

3) No regard is given to matching the sex of the poet and reader. In general, it is really annoying to hear your favorite poet read by the wrong sex. In particular, making this mistake on "gender specific" poems (like having a woman read Poe's "Annabel Lee") is unforgivable.

Why is this all so upsetting? Because it is practically impossible to find poetry collections on CD, making this a serious waste of limited resources. If you are looking for a good collection on CD, buy "81 Famous Poems CD" by Audio Partners (ISBN 0-945353-82-0). It's a good collection on two CDs and is read by professionals: Alexander Scourby, Bramwell Fletcher, and Nancy Wickwire. In the meantime, we can only hope that the producers of this collection will eventually come to their senses and re-record the poems with the services of trained professionals.

The Classic Hundred Poems: All Time Favorites
If you are prepping for the GRE in literature or are trying to gain a basic understanding of literary periods and poets, this audio-collection is a must. It features a brief introduction about each poet's life. It also includes a brief introduction about the theme of each poem. The fact that you have to listen to these introductions before listening to the poem inculcate the poem and aids retention. If literature has turned into a cumbersome and overwhelming task, this collection will not only provide you with a sense of direction but will also make literature far more pleasurable.

Dazzling Images: The Masks of Sir Philip Sidney
Published in Hardcover by Univ of Delaware Pr (1991)
Author: Alan Hager
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Astrophil and Stella
Published in Unknown Binding by ()
Authors: Sir Philip Sidney and Max Putzel
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