Sir Philip Sidney: Arcadia

London: Simon Waterson, 1627 (Sp Coll Bl13-b.16)

Line of text from Book One, The First Ecologue, 'Arcadia'.
This edition of the collected works of Sir Philip Sidney demonstrates the continuing popularity of his work throughout the 17th-century. It was printed in 1627, 41 years after Sidney's death. As well as Arcadia, this volume also includes Astrophel and Stella, The Defence of Poesy and a collection of Sidney’s Sonnets.

Our copy is very worn and damaged, perhaps a sign of frequent use in the past, and of its popularity with readers. Although it is missing the preliminary leaves, it is possible to identify that this book is from the edition that was published in 1627 by Simon Waterson.

This edition contains the New Arcadia, revised from the original work which had been completed sometime around 1580. The revised version was left incomplete at Sidney’s death in 1586 and several continuations were produced in an attempt to finish the work, including one by Mary Herbert. This volume contains a sixth book, written by Richard Bellings, which was originally published separately in 1624.

Double page opening of text with ownership inscription in right margin of page 143.

As shown in the image above, there are marginal annotations throughout both Arcadia and Astrophel and Stella, further evidence of the use of this volume by different readers in the past. As well as discolouration of, and damage to, many of the pages in the book, at some point the binding has been repaired in an inexpert way, adding to the look of disrepair.

Inexpertly bound and worn copy of Sir Philip Sidney's 'Arcadia'.

Also by Sir Philip Sidney and held in Special Collections:

Epitaphia in mortem nobilissimi et fortissimi viri D. Philippi Sidneji equities (1587) Sp Coll BD20-g.39

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