Sidney, Spenser and Political Petrarchism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

7 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter examines traces of Petrarchism in English poets Edmund Spenser and Sir Philip Sydney. It argues that the engagements of both poets with Petrarchism are more serious, and indeed more political, than traditional readings have implied. It explains that these two poets share Petrarch's condemnation of desire but do not display their contemptus mundi. It also discusses Spenser's recognition of the Petrarch's authority as a model for creating a sense of nationhood in thrall to a monarch and his use of this model to create a counter-national poetry whose authority is independent of political power.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPetrarch in Britain
Subtitle of host publicationInterpreters, Imitators and Translators over 700 Years
EditorsMartin L. McLaughlin, Peter Hainsworth, Letizia Panizza
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780191734649
ISBN (Print)9780197264133
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings of the British Academy
PublisherOxford University Press
ISSN (Print)0068-1202

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The British Academy 2007. All rights reserved.


  • Contemptus mundi
  • Counter-national poetry
  • Edmund spenser
  • English poets
  • Nationhood
  • Petrarch
  • Petrarchism
  • Political power
  • Sir philip sydney


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