- Series: Oxford World's Classics
- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 15, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199549842
- ISBN-13: 978-0199549849
- Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.8 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia: (The Old Arcadia) (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – October 15, 2008
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About the Author
Katherine Duncan-Jones is a Fellow in English at Somerville College, Oxford. She is the author of Sidney: Courtier Poet (1991); and the editor of Oxford Authors Sidney (1989) and Oxford Poetry Library Sidney (1994).
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In addition, the editor has chosen to omit "long episodes of no possible use to the book, which we think have been supplied by other hands than Sidney's". Besides the fact that distinguishing Sidney's work from others is a futile and even ridiculous exercise, these episodes "of no possible use" prove their worth when the reader of this edition finds him- or herself utterly confused by the development of the plot. The rebellion against Basilius in Book 2, for example, is compressed into a few short paragraphs--leaving out the events that explain why it occurred in the first place and how Zelmane (Pyrocles) quelled it. Moreover, it does a disservice to Sidney's interest in theories of political government, since the omission includes a substantial (and interesting) speech articulating the relationship between the sovereign and his subjects. In fact, one could argue (not that I want to go so far) that this editorial omission constitutes a populist agenda, since the omitted section casts a derogatory light on the stupid and ill-informed tradesmen who begin the revolt. On the level of plot, furthermore, this omission leaves the reader wondering what is so important about Clinias, who is subsequently treated with incommensurate seriousness; his actions in the rebellion and his tainted relation of it are severely compressed. It is ironic, therefore, that Zelmane asks Philoclea to explain the meaning of a poem handed to the former, insisting that the poem itself does not provide an explanation of the situations of the speakers represented therein. Well, in this edition, the poem doesn't even exist! The editor just goes straight from Zelmane receiving the poem to asking for an explanation! Now Philoclea REALLY needs to explain what's going on.
All in all, this is an absolutely terrible edition that completely misrepresents Sidney's text. Taken as "Excerpts from The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia," it might work; but even this reduces a multi-vocal, multivalent, multimodal work to an overly simplistic love story completely out of keeping with Sidney's other work. Sidney is one of the most influential poets of the period, and this generic expertise is thoroughly demonstrated in the numerous poems sprinkled throughout the Arcadia. But almost none of these are present in this edition. It has utterly no scholarly integrity.