sir philip sidney (1554-86) is one of the most important writers of the english ressaissance. in this book he turns his attention to the status of poetry in england.
defense of poetry (also known as a defence of poesie) — sidney wrote the defence before 1583. it is generally believed that he was at least partly motivated by stephen gosson, a former playwright who dedicated his attack on the english stage, the school of abuse, to sidney in 1579, but sidney primarily addresses more general objections to poetry, such as those of plato. in his essay, sidney integrates a number of classical and italian precepts on fiction. the essence of his defense is that poetry, by combining the liveliness of history with the ethical focus of philosophy, is more effective than either history or philosophy in rousing its readers to virtue. the work also offers important comments on edmund spenser and the elizabethan stage.