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192 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 talents of diverse courtiers of tmknown 1Jlood,' a danger located by Shakespeare not in avowed opponents of the state but its employees. Bacon's discourse on the discovery of nature's secrets appropriates the administrative apparatus of the state to his culture of scientific interrogation , but this reassuring gesture to the Crown and its prerogatives occludes a ftmdamental transfer of authority from the established hierarchy to the investigator's self-discipline acting in obedience to nature: 'objectivity,' Hanson argues, 'rather than loyalty thus becomes the optimum condition of subjection.' Bacon actually administered interrogation by torture, and is the only English lawyer Hanson could find whose writing offers any support for this Continental import with its singular violation of the cherished principle of English jurisprudence interdicting self-incrimination. Clearly, Bacon functions as a metonymy of the yoked contraries this study seeks to elucidate. The argument devolves upon him structurally, and his example thereby anchors and resolves the complex layerings of analogues Hanson constructs. If occasionally these seem on the verge of imploding from the stress of involution ('in other words' occurs relentlessly as a locutional tic), Hanson's strategic method is exquisitely responsive to her subject: both concern the ritual!? of analogy, and both repay the attention they demand. (MICHAEL DIXON) Edward Berry. The Making ofSir Philip Sidney University of Toronto Press. xvi, 242. $45.00 Edward Berry's The Making of Sir Philip Sidney covers all Sidney'S major works by focusing on the poet's self-representations. The focus allows the author to explore important aspects of Astrophil and Stella and the Defence, but is rather less successful when it makes Philisides the key to the Old and New Arcadia. The study is best where 'literary' qualities are not centrat - for example, when it develops the persona behind the letters to Languet or behind the choice of pose and costume in the well-known 1577/78 portrait. Although the book is a model of restraint, much presented is 'what might have been' or 'probably was' - on occasion becoming ineluctably 'what must necessarily be.' We accept such arguments in so far as we are open to their psychological or political assumptions. Yetwe might want to question why Sidney'S attraction to epic is 'betrayed' rather than Jmanifested,' or to see'echoes' as arising not from a psychological nexus but from the limited pool of rhetorical topoi available for arguing specific ideas and circumstances . For my taste, Berry's reading of Astrophil and Stella looks too hard for narrative trajectories that turn idealism into Machiavellian pursuits of sexual power, love into lust. In spite of appreciating its 'comic delight' (the HUMANITIES 193 sequence meets the Defence's definition of comedy), this is a moralist's view of the work, taking it to task for not offering resolutions or cures. Berry is interestingly disappointed in Stella's conventional excuse of 'Tyranhonour' to refuse adultery, noting how itdeflates Astrophil's high moral conception of her virtue. Understanding Sidney's purpose to be anti-Petrarchan, Berry prefers Shakespeare's more 'moraY debunking through the dark lady. But Shakespeare's questionable strategy is to make her a whore. Even if reduced to a 'stereotypical court lady, trapped in an unhappy marriage but worried about social disgrace,' Stella is not vilified. Notwithstanding its new-historical bent, the book seems unhappy with Sidney's willingness to live in society. It praises the 'social reality' of Astrophil and Stella while sneering at the consequences. Berry accuses Astrophil of trivializing the carpe diem tradition, for example, in which death rather than scarce opportunity is the ultimate argument for acquiescence . Although Berry posits two ctifferent voices in the sequence - poet judging persona - he reproves Astrophil here for somethingI think intrinsic to Sidney. Time in general is strikingly absent from his work, which feels little sense of 'Time's swift foot' threatening decrepitude or deatho My sense is that Sidney lives mostly in the present. Berry's attribution of nostalgiastudying horsemanship with Pugliano as a time of great idealistic promise now lost, the Ister bank setting and rustic language representing a longing for lost irmocence - frequently imposes an alien tone on Sidney'S work. The centrality...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 192-193
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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