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2002 articles 1975 articles

A manuscript of poems by Robert Sidney: some early impressions

Hilton Kelliher and Katherine Duncan-Jones


IN January of this year the British Library, with the aid of generous grants from the Pilgrim Trust and the Radcliffe Trust, purchased from an unrevealed source through Messrs. Sotheby's an autograph manuscript, now numbered Additional MS. 58435, comprising sonnets, pastorals, songs, and epigrams composed by Robert Sidney (1563- 1626), Earl of Leicester. The rediscovery of this long-lost body of poems constitutes an event of considerable importance for Ehzabethan studies since, quite apart from their intrinsic merit, they issue from the very heart of the Elizabethan literary renaissance. The present article is intended to celebrate the acquisition of the manuscript for the nation with some preliminary bibliographical and critical observations that it is hoped will suggest further lines of inquiry, and by the publication for the first time of a small number of Sidney's poems, supplemented by a brief commentary.

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