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Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, Vol. 41, 2001

Relational Antifeminism in Sidney's Arcadia

Bi-Qi Beatrice Lei

Sir Philip Sidney is often considered a profeminist participant in the Elizabethan polemics of gender. His biographers stress the influence of loving, intelligent women in his life, and many critics have found a sympathetic literary treatment of women in his fictional works, especially in the Arcadia, [1] a text that is said to show more sympathy toward women than Queen Elizabeth ever expressed. [2] Sidney's view of women is generally acknowledged to be unbiased, even by the critic who most vigorously exposes Arcadian analogies to Elizabeth that reflect the many ways in which the queen falls far short of Sidney's expectations of her. [3] Unlike many of his contemporaries, Sidney does not deny women's moral potential or political rights. Biological difference between the sexes does not govern character or behavior: a woman can be virtuous or vicious, rational or passionate, chaste or lustful, a good or a bad ruler, just as a man can be. The Old Arcadia, itself dedicated to Sidney's beloved sister and addresse d to "fair ladies," abounds with defenses of women; in the New Arcadia, there are numerous positive female characters, from shepherdess to queen regnant. [4] The range of his female characters shows that Sidney "disregards conventional judgments and rejects stereotypes." [5] In various ways, Sidney seems to transcend not only the gender hierarchy, but also the gender ideology of his age. Constance Jordan highlights Sidney's powerful exposition of the notion of androgyny, extended critique of patriarchy, and vigorous defense of woman and of woman's rule; to conclude, she calls the Arcadia a feminist text. [6]

However, Sidney's conception and treatment of the gender issue are far more complex than some accounts have made them. C. S. Lewis insightfully remarks that the Arcadia can "easily be misrepresented by a one-sided choice of quotations." [7] To read the work as a straightforward legend of good women is undoubtedly reductive, if not incorrect. In this essay, I argue that the Arcadia can easily be (mis)read as antifeminist propaganda: there is a misogynistic subtext, an internalization of gender ideology, an undercurrent of gynophobia that operates on a different discursive level from the work's apparent profeminism. Despite their legitimate claims as individuals, there exists an effective mechanism, a "sex/gender system" in Gayle Rubin's words, that redefines and discredits women through their relations to men. [8] The mechanism prevails in the Arcadia and calls attention to the work as a man-made fiction, an ideological construct. In recent years, feminist critiques have shed brilliant light on the Arcadia, b ut their discussions mainly center on a small group of characters and episodes, mostly in the revision. [9] Deeply indebted to their studies, my essay aims at discovering the overall structure that encompasses all female characters.


The ubiquitous anxiety about masculinity in Renaissance England is a subject which has been amply explored. [10] Mark Breitenberg applies Stephen Greenblatt's classic theory of self-fashioning to the construction of early modern masculinity: "Self-fashioning is achieved in relation to something perceived as alien, strange, or hostile. This threatening Other--heretic, savage, witch, adulteress, traitor, Antichrist--must be discovered or invented in order to be attacked and destroyed." [11] Breitenberg remarks, "early modern masculinity relies on a variety of constructions of woman as Other." [12] Gynophobia is a common phenomenon in various aspects, "from the widespread literary attacks on women to the antifemale impact of witchcraft persecutions." [13] The years between 1550 and 1650 are recognized as "a particularly gynophobic century." [14] In antifeminist literature, male authors project the dreaded qualities within--carnality, irrationality, vulnerability, and so on--upon women, who are often tagged with a "catalogue of vices, an endlessly random list of faults." [15] Directly articulated or not, antifeminist sentiment was more pervasive than many critics are willing to admit today. Among those most likely to transcend the prejudices of their period, neither Spenser nor Shakespeare has escaped open charges of misogyny or sexism. [16] Sidney, however, appears to diverge from the beaten track. [17] Katherine Duncan-Jones remarks: "In Sidney's work, misogyny is never allowed to stand uncorrected." [18] But there are different levels of misogyny in the Arcadia. Duncan-Jones's remarks certainly account for local and isolated misogynistic passages, which I categorize as "polemical" and "personified" misogyny. Polemical misogyny follows the medieval tradition of querelle des femmes and is the mode most often used in the Old Arcadia. [19] For instance, Musidorus attacks women's "peevish imperfections" (OA, p. 19; NA, p. 71); in the eclogues, Geron denounces women as "a fickle sex" and "a servant sex" (QA, p. 73), an d Histor condemns wives (OA, pp. 260-1). These set pieces of misogyny are clearly biased, with the speakers taking conscious, dialectical stands in opposition to the woman lovers. Neither do these misogynists stand unchallenged, nor do they always stick to their own points. Musidorus soon recants and Geron later praises his own wife. Histor's sour grapes attitude also discredits his remarks. The polemical misogyny in the Old Arcadia is lighthearted, rhetorical exercise, rather than serious authorial statement. In her study of Renaissance controversies on women, Linda Woodbridge points out the "almost aesthetic view of debate." The polemic of women in the eclogues is not unlike the debates in The Courtier that, in Woodbridge's words, "if they end in enlightenment, begin as recreation." [20] In addition to polemical misogyny. there are declared misogynists in the New Arcadia. For instance, Pyrocles recounts the story of Pamphilus, who deceives, sexually exploits, and humiliates one woman after another. He attem pts physical violence. gang rape, and murder on Dido, the woman who resists (NA, pp. 237-43). Anaxius, another declared misogynist, calls women "a peevish, paltry sex" (NA, p. 391). Anaxius and his brothers are ready to "make violence" their "orator" in courtship and rape the women they desire (NA, p. 458). The pronounced misogynists are unambiguously villainized. Pyrocles passes severe judgment on Pamphilus in his account; Anaxius and his brothers are described as 'unworthy men, neither feeling virtue in themselves nor tendering it in others" (NA, p. 458).

While the polemical and personified misogyny is "corrected" or at least counterbalanced by its opponents, the structural hostility toward women throughout the two Arcadias is too powerful to be dismissed. Unlike polemical and personified misogyny, it is not local but universal, not polemical but monotonal, not explicit but implicit; it admits of no other vantage point in the text. Along with apparent sympathy with women, there is a profound gynophobia that is neatly justified by the general Arcadian experience. When the female characters are defined solely by their sex and their relations to men, rather than by their individual worth, a collective identity emerges. Despite their tremendous differences in moral standing, sexual status, and social position, women seem to pose a uniform threat to men. The characters are set in such a way as to imply that to ensure unwavering masculinity, rational judgment, and an orderly society, men's relations with women need to be minimized, and distance from them maximized. The negative influence of women on men does not necessarily reflect Sidney's own experience or Elizabethan reality in any simple way. Instead, it is highly ideological and is most freely at play in Sidney's imaginative work, a utopia of male fantasy. In the Arcadia, masculinity is built on distance, rather than difference, from the female sex. To have any relations with the female sex, especially in the private sphere, is a serious threat. To borrow the terms of feminist discourse, Arcadian antifeminism is "relational" rather than "individualist." [21] Any relation with any woman is to be dreaded and the dread is independent of the individual woman's quality. Be she an angel or a whore, a woman is to be avoided at all costs. Accordingly, male comradeship emerges as all men collectively guard themselves against the same adversary, and homosociality functions as the best defense against female threats.


Male friendship is universally celebrated in the two Arcadias. Examples are Pyrocles and Musidorus, Basilius and Euarchus, Basilius and Philanax, Euarchus and Dorilaus, Strephon and Claius (Klaius), Philisides and Languet, Amphialus and Philoxenus, Argalus and Clitophon, Tydeus and Telenor, and so on. Often, a homoerotic element is suggested. [22] Be they brothers, cousins, friends, political or military allies, ruler and counselor, mentor and disciple, master and servant, or competing suitors to the same woman, love between the males is without exception portrayed as noble and praiseworthy, in perfect harmony with moral, social, and political ideals. By contrast, men's love for women creates all kinds of tension, despite the excellence of the beloved women. Sidney's attitude toward erotic love, an exceedingly complex matter in itself, is not a subject I will address in its entirety here. [23] For my current purposes, I want to point out that the anti-erotic sentiment in the Arcadian polemic is essentially a ntifeminist: love of women is an unlucky fall from male homosociality, which promises peace of mind, invulnerability, heroic accomplishments, and political stability. Geron's "thy mistress is a woman" (OA, p. 73) epitomizes the male argument against love. I will not dwell further on this contraposition since binary opposition is required for the debates to take place. Rather, it is the deep skepticism in the defenses of love for women that demands attention. However assured they pretend to be, the male lovers never feel fully secure with their own argument. Instead, their ambivalence toward love for women is hardly concealed as they often conceptualize and verbalize their love as a disease, thraldom, or even death, at best forced destiny rather than a choice. [24] As far as gender is concerned, the two camps are complements each of the other, not opposites.

Caution against "effeminate love of a woman" (OA, p. 20; NA, p. 72) is a commonplace in Sidney's time. The Faerie Queene, for instance, conveys a similar message: the narrative "keeps knights and ladies separate as much as possible, even when the pairings promote virtue." At best women are "distracting," keeping men from their knightly duties. [25] The Arcadian hostility toward women, however, is not restricted to the anti-erotic. In Spenser's epic, the female threat is perceived as sexual, extrinsic, and uncanny; in the Arcadia, it is significantly de-sexualized, domesticized, and naturalized. There are no Arcadian counterparts for Spenser's supernatural enchantress or exotic Amazonomach; instead, kinswomen seem most perilous. In the Old Arcadia, the ominous oracle is spoken by an inspired woman. Despite Philanax's wise counsel, Basilius decides to withdraw himself to a solitary place: "being so cruelly menaced by fortune, he would draw himself out of her way by this loneliness, which he thought was the sur est mean to avoid her blows" (OA, p. 6, emphasis mine). Ironically, he flees from an abstract female to real ones--his wife and daughters-- with disastrous results. Basilius's all-female household is indeed the ultimate source of his anxiety, which prompts him to seek out Apollo's advice in the first place. He interprets the oracle as relating to his own death, the loss of his daughters, and an intrusion of foreign power. As Christopher Martin remarks, the oracle only confirms what Basilius conceives to be his inevitable fate for lack of a male heir. [26] Like Philanax, Euarchus foresees the risks involved in Basilius's seclusion. For them, Basilius's "death" is directly linked to his rejection of public, homosocial society, represented by male counselor, friend, and confederate, in favor of the private family of women, a situation not unlike "burying himself alive" (OA, p. 359).

My emphasis on the household as an enclosed private space in opposition to the public world might seem ahistorical. Lawrence Stone notes that the "most striking characteristic" of the early modern family is "the degree to which it was open to external influences. Even the nuclear family "had only weak boundaries to separate it from wider definitions of social space." [27] Jonathan Goldberg remarks that the family "was understood as part of the larger world, both as the smallest social unit from which the larger world was composed and as the essential link between persons." [28] The parallel between family and state legitimizes patriarchal power in the family. Family is a metaphor for the state; the authority of the head of a family derives from that of the king, and ultimately from God the Father who demands absolute obedience. [29] This analogy "serves both to 'naturalize' the political realm and to politicize the supposedly natural relations among family members." [30] "Patriarchy, in short, is at home at home. The private family is its proper domain," Joan Kelly concludes. [31] I want to modify this critical certainty. The need to call upon external justification reveals the vulnerability of patriarchal power within the family. On the one hand, the heavy secular and spiritual responsibilities that had recently fallen on the heads of the households must have entailed enormous male anxiety. On the other hand, the extension of patriarchal power did not cancel the ideological split between private/women and public/men. The gendering of domestic space was as valid as the politicizing of it: home is the natural place for women and, presumably, an unfit place for men. [32] Thus Geron plainly declares, "We [men] care abroad, and they [wives] of home have care" (OA, p. 263).

In the Arcadia, gynophobia is expressed in spatial terms, and authority proper tends to fail in its elementary unit. The nuclear family, in which the presence and influence of a woman is most powerfully felt, stands in opposition to the homosocial public world and is conceived of as the most dangerous place. Modern psychoanalytic theory is particularly useful in explaining the feminization and resentment of family life. Psychoanalysis argues that masculinity originates in the boy's denial of initial connections with femininity in early childhood. Robert J. Stoller writes that "the whole process of becoming masculine is at risk in the little boy from the day of birth on; his still-to-be-created masculinity is endangered by the primary, profound, primeval oneness with mother, a blissful experience that serves, buried but active in the core of one's identity, as a focus which, throughout life, can attract one to regress back to that primitive oneness. That is the threat lying latent in masculinity." [33] The pr e-Oedipal genderlessness is not a passing moment, but a permanent threat. The same anxiety lies behind Desiderius Erasmus's remarks on "the mischief that accrues when mothers are allowed to keep their children in their lap until they are seven years of age." [34] It is not my concern to analyze Sidney's relations with his mother or nurse. The early modern psychological drama of masculinity was an "interiorization of social (and thus political) factors," intersected by "cultural tensions not derived from the psyche so much as implanted there." [35] In particular, the nursing mother is one of the official images of Elizabeth, [36] an image to which Sidney also made his contribution. [37] Sidney's own problems with her--her scruples about the Protestant cause and his attempts at foreign alliances, her retaining him at court and denying him advancement [38] --can be interpreted as analogous to the family drama of psychoanalysis, in which the cruel mother, the "bad breast" in Melanie Klein's words, threatens to de ny sustenance to her boy yet forbids him to drink elsewhere. [39] Barbara J. Bono argues that political frustration underlies Sidney's "maternal subtext." [40] In the Arcadia, the only benign nurturing mother figure, the mother of Musidorus and aunt of Pyrocles, has to be left behind for the young princes to be real men. They aspire to surpass the epic heroes Ulysses and Aeneas, whose heroic achievements indeed depend no less on their resistance to the female sex. Given Elizabeth's crucial influence, however, the Arcadian relational antifeminism is too coherent and comprehensive to be exhausted by any single personal or political allegory. Masculine anxiety drives men away, not only from mothers, but also from other female family members and the domestic space women occupy and represent. A man can never sleep in peace fearing "the danger of so near a neighbour" as a woman in his own house (OA, p.383).

Sidney dramatically enlarges the cast in the New Arcadia. On the one hand, there are more positive female figures, such as Urania, Zelmane, Helen, and Parthenia. On the other hand, however, gynophobia becomes more glaring both in its depth and in its breadth. To start with, unlawful female sexuality, manifest with Gynecia's adulterous desire in the Old Arcadia, becomes more powerfully disruptive. The royal concubine of Paphlagonia, a nameless woman who is only once mentioned in half a sentence and whose only wrongdoing seems to be that she is a concubine, is implicitly denounced as the origin of enormous mischief. Her bastard son Plexirtus practices all sorts of evil plotting, deception, and treason; her daughter Andromana, whose sexual power surpasses that of her mother, beds both Iberian prince and king and commits no less evil than Plexirtus. These unlawfully sexual women disrupt the natural, lawful, and affectionate male bondings between fathers and sons. Despite their faults, the men--bastards excluded- -are presented as victims rather than villains, and the women take all the blame. As psychoanalytical and topical readings would assume, mothers, even if lawfully wedded, are unforgivable. Except for the nameless mother of Musidorus, all mothers in the Arcadia are bad. [41] In general, mothers are willful manipulators and victimizers of their children, more devouring than nurturing. Positive influence and genuine parental love come almost exclusively from single fathers or foster fathers. More striking is that the implied antifeminism is directed toward all female family members, including those without explicit sexual connotation and those without any correspondence to mother or to Elizabeth. The righteous or heroic figures-- Euarchus (father to Pyrocles), Dorilaus (father to Musidorus), Kalander (father to Clitophon), Timotheus (father to Philoxenus and foster father to Amphialus)--only produce sons. Their wives are either dead or nameless, or are never mentioned. By contrast, there are men with daughters a nd/or wives but no sons-- Basilius (father to Pamela and Philoclea, husband to Gynecia), Dametas (father to Mopsa, husband to Miso), Plexirtus (father to Zelmane, later husband to Artaxia), and Chremes (father to Dido). These men are portrayed as foolish, ridiculous, or wicked, even though their daughters might be good. [42]

This implied hostility toward women cannot be explained away by coincidence. Sidney is too careful an artist to allow random casting. The Old Arcadia has a more limited cast and only a few women are present, but the New Arcadia is a vast opus boasting more than 130 characters, and this hostility persists throughout. While the polemical misogyny is counterbalanced by praises of women, and the evil female characters are contrasted with good ones, there can be no answer to Arcadian relational antifeminism. Sidney's superb characterization portrays women as individuals, but they are nonetheless abstractions and symbols. Be they lovers, wives, concubines, mothers, or daughters, women seem, despite themselves, to be gateways to the devil. The prevalence of sons and daughters particularly calls for attention; a variety of discourses contribute to it. Both science and theology supported the connection of virility and male offspring. In the Galenic one-sex model, the female is but an imperfect, incomplete, and defect ive male. [43] According to Thomas Aquinas, females are the result of a generative event that somehow goes wrong, "either of the debility of the active power. or of some unsuitability of the material, or of some change effected by external influences, like the south wind, for example, which is damp." [44] Thomas de Vio, Cardinal Cajetan (1469-1534) commented on the inferiority of woman because the procreation of Eve took place when Adam was asleep: "For a sleeping man is only half a man: similarly, the principle creating woman is only semi-virile." [45] I do not suggest that Sidney had these biological or theological theories in mind when he created his female characters. Rather, these attempts to theorize the procreation of females demonstrate that in the cultural politics of gender asymmetry, the generation of the sexes is inevitably perceived and represented in hierarchical terms. Sidney does not theorize, but his arrangement seems to imply that sons are the rewards of masculinity and daughters the unlucky products of effeminate men. More explicitly, contacts with males and females, sons and daughters included, reinforce and diminish masculinity respectively. Recurrent instances in the Arcadia suggest that female relations weaken moral strength, darken reason, hinder heroic actions, and threaten political order. In short, by their very existence in men's lives, women un-man men. Male defense takes constant and conscious efforts; it is a real battle, and a man has to be constantly vigilant. To accept a woman in a man's heart is "the very first down step to all wickedness." Musidorus says to Pyrocles: "do not deceive yourself, my dear cousin, there is no man suddenly either excellently good or extremely evil, but grows either as he holds himself up in virtue or lets himself slide to viciousness" (OA, p. 19: NA, p. 71). For the not-yet-in-love Musidorus, virtue and viciousness are no more than synonyms for masculinity and femininity. Even though Musidorus's argument is undermined by his own lack of experience, hi s logic lies behind the whole system of relational anti-feminism.

Male bonding functions as a safeguard against feminine threats. In dissuading Pyrocles from "effeminate love," Musidorus reminds him of "the love betwixt us" and his "old careful father" (OA. p. 24: NA, p. 75). Male bonding plays a crucial role in the shaping of young men: Amphialus and Polixenus are educated together. so are Musidorus and Pyrocles. Sidney also pays homage to his mentor by having Philisides recount what he has learned from Languet. Indeed male bonding dominates Sidney's conception of his characters: male characters are often presented in pairs sharing a common identity. For the minor characters--Pas and Nico, Leucippus and Nelsus, Tydeus and Telenor, Barzanes and Euardes, and Lycrugus and Zolius--either member in a pair is virtually undifferentiated from the other. [46] But male bonding can be fragile, and is often broken at the first instant of female intrusion--as demonstrated by the Paphlagonian and Iberian royal families--or rendered impotent, unable to fend off female forces, as in the cases of Musidorus and Pyrocles, Amphialus and Philoxenus, and Strephon and Claius (Klaius). In this sense, the vast opus of the Arcadia repeatedly stages the same tale of a homosocial paradise lost through female intrusion.

Even though Christianity is unavailable to the Arcadian characters, the radical antifeminism recalls the asceticism of early church Fathers. Forming relationships with women is perceived as the original sin, without being so named. It is fraternity, rather than family values, that is unambiguously celebrated. Although Sidney wrote in a gynophobic century, it still seems odd that he turns against family life per se. Protestant teachings powerfully endorse the nuclear family, and the affectionate bond among the Sidneys seems to have been particularly strong. Nevertheless, domestic life as portrayed in the Arcadia is very bleak. Most of the families are incomplete. [47] The two complete nuclear families--those of Basilius and Dametas--are far from being peaceful havens in the heartless world; they are the very center of sound and fury. Stone points out a "general psychological atmosphere of distance, manipulation and deference" within the sixteenth-century family at all social levels. [48] It was a "low affect" society, consisting of "low affect" marriages. [49] Stone's emphasis on the lack of affection among family members is perhaps exaggerated, but it is certainly true in the fictional world of the Arcadia. Home is a feminine space with all the negative qualities attached to it, and a man is not at home in his own house.


The shaping of the character Euarchus best exemplifies Arcadian relational antifeminism. As I argued earlier, it is the physical distance between male and female, rather than essential difference, that defines masculinity. Accordingly, the man least associated with women is the most masculine, rational, and just. Euarchus stands for pure, almost unpolluted, masculinity; hence he is the protopatriarch and good ruler, as his name denotes. Motherless, wifeless, and daughterless, Euarchus is the antitype of the "family man" represented by Basilius. A man rarely at home, Euarchus belongs to the larger homosocial world and functions as "the ultimate source of rational patriarchal authority" in the Arcadia. [50] He has a sister: "Her he had given in marriage to Dorilaus, prince of Thessalia, not so much to make a friendship as to confirm the friendship betwixt their posterity, which between them, by the likeness of virtue, had been long before made" (NA, p. 161). Euarchus in turn makes a cross-marriage with Dorilau s's sister. Male "exchange of women," as Claude Levi-Strauss describes it, is meant to establish lasting affines. [51] Elsdon Best remarks that "Two peoples may meet in friendship and exchange gifts and yet quarrel and fight in later times, but intermarriage connects them in a permanent manner." [52] Euarchus leaves home shortly after making his wife pregnant, and she dies shortly after the birth of their only son Pyrocles. The widowed man is then free from any contamination by women. Instead, he forms male alliances, fights wars, and enforces justice around the world. Most purely masculine, Euarchus is, therefore, the only judge capable of enforcing order at the end of the Old Arcadia.

Euarchus has caused interpretational difficulty. Some take him to be Sidney's ideal judge, a persona for William of Orange, Sir Henry Sidney, or Philip himself: [53] others emphasize his limitations. [54] Little attention, however, is paid to his gender bias. [55] Situated literally in the pagan past and implicitly in humanistic Renaissance England, Euarchus's abhorrence of women does not make him a spokesman for celibacy. Patriarchy is a secular system that inevitably depends on the female generative machine. Celibacy, as Histor and young Basiius vow to observe it, "poses a threat to social order and continuity." [56] In a sense, women and women's sexuality are men's necessary evil, an idea clearly understood by Euarchus. Even though he preaches against marriage for convenience in the trial scene, he practices it. In addition to his and Dorilaus's cross-marriages, Euarchus would have arranged for his son and nephew to marry the daughters of Basilius, an old friend and confederate of his. Marriage functions as a means to reinforce male friendship and to form alliances. Euarchus pays lip service to "that sweet and heavenly uniting of the minds, which properly is called love" and which "hath no other knot but virtue" (OA, p. 407), supposedly love in marriage, but it leaves little trace in Arcadian reality, certainly not in his own marriage. Euarchus's true opinion, confirmed by his practice, is that "the principal cause of marrying wives is that we[men] may have children of our own" (OA, p. 406). While it is important to recognize the necessity of women, it is equally important to realize their evil natures. Sexuality, Euarchus declares, "being holily used, is the root of humanity, the beginning and maintaining of living creatures, whereof the confusion must needs be a general ruin" (OA, p. 406). To treat women as other than reproductive machines is imprudent--it is noteworthy that Dametas, the fool, has "for love chosen his wife Miso" (OA, p. 30). Judged by Euarchus's standard, Basilius cannot but fail as a husba nd, father, and monarch simply because he understands neither the necessity nor the evil of women. Instead, he violates the woman principle in every single way. His long-delayed marriage, his failure to produce a male heir, his rejection of homosociality and indulgence in female company, and his withholding his daughters from marriage, all jeopardize succession, implant political ambition among his subjects, and serve as pretexts for rebellion. [57]

When Euarchus is called upon to re-establish order in Arcadia, the woman principle is treated as the ultimate issue. Since a woman-free household, as practiced by Euarchus, is an impracticable ideal, women are to be silenced, imprisoned, and commodified, so their influences can be minimized. Euarchus looks upon women as commodities to be transferred from their fathers or brothers to their husbands. [58] Hence, Musidorus, with whom Pamela elopes, commits the crimes of theft and treason against her father and lord: "although he ravished her not from herself, yet he ravished her from him that owed her, which was her father" (OA, p. 406). Commodified, women are also to blame for the loss of their value in unauthorized transactions. Hence, Phioclea is to be punished for being a victim of Pyrocles' supposedly failed rape attempt since she is "not altogether faultless" (OA, p. 380). Permanent confinement in a nunnery replaces her father as guardian of her sexuality.

Interestingly enough, even though the case involves murder, rape, theft, and treason, the accuser Philanax's most passionate condemnation is of Pyrocles' transgression of gender boundaries. Arcadia suffers an "infamous misery" because its overthrow is caused by "an effeminate man" (OA, p. 388), whose effeminacy tops his many crimes. Pyrocles has disguised himself as a woman, seduced the younger Arcadian princess Philoclea, and entertained the suits of both her parents. Philanax is appalled by the monstrosity of Pyrocles' unstable gender and exclaims, "O shameful and shameless creature, fit indeed to be the dishonour of both sexes." Pyrocles surpasses "the arrantest strumpet in luxuriousness, the cunningest forger in falsehood; a player in disguising, a tiger in cruelty, a dragon in ungratefulness"; he is a "mankind courtesan" with "whorish beauty" and "a very spirit of hellish naughtiness" (OA, pp. 390-1). For Philanax, as well as for Euarchus, the personal is political. The shattering of gender identity des troys order at all levels and is the most intolerable crime.

To right the infamous wrong, Euarchus sentences Pyrocles and Musidorus to death, a judgment he would not overturn even though they turn out to be his own son and nephew. Only by a miracle is the crisis solved: Basilius "revives" from his deathlike trance, and all the complications are brought to a conventional happy ending. Euarchus's misogyny, however, cannot be easily dismissed. Even though his judgment is invalidated, the ideology that sustains it regains absolute control. Indeed, the ending of the Old Arcadia is no less an ending than Euarchus himself would have wished for: transvestism is abolished, traditional gender roles are reaffirmed, erotic love is channeled back to generative purpose in lawful marriage with parents' consent, and political power passes smoothly from fathers to son and son-in-law through women. Pyrocles will no longer play "woman or boy, or both," or "whatsoever" (OA, p. 32; NA, p. 81) but a husband, father of a son, and a king. Gynecia will perform wifely obedience and married cha stity. Pamela will be a wife and mother and yield her sovereignty to her husband, who inherits Arcadia from her father.

After enormous confusion, male control over women is finally achieved. To examine it more closely, the penultimate paragraph is worth quoting in full:

Then [Basilius] with princely entertainment to Euarchus, and many kind words to Pyrocles (whom still he dearly loved, though in a more virtuous kind), the marriage was concluded, to the inestimable joy of Euarchus (towards whom now Musidorus acknowledged his fault), betwixt these peerless princes and princesses; Philanax for his singular faith ever held dear of Basilius while he lived, and no less of Musidorus who was to inherit that dukedom, and therein confirmed to him and his the second place of that province, with great increase of his living to maintain it; which like proportion he used to Kalodoulus in Thessalia. Sympathus, Euarchus took with him into

Macedon, and there highly advanced him. But as for Kerxenus, Pyrocles (to whom his father in his own time gave the whole kingdom of Thrace) held him always about him, giving him in pure gift the great city of Abdera.

(OA, pp. 416-7)

No doubt this is a fairy tale ending for the men, princes and counselors, older and younger generations alike, who all live happily ever after. But what about the women? In the narrative preoccupation with male alliances and dynastic continuity, the "peerless princesses" are left out in the cold because, after their instrumental function is fulfilled, there are no roles for them to play in the homosocial world. As Margaret Sullivan points out, Gynecia is the only woman permitted to speak in the trial because by her words she supports patriarchy. [59] Pamela and Philoclea never leave prison, their letters are unread, and how they feel is not a consideration. The reader is only told that the marriage conclusion delights Euarchus immensely! To talk about love's triumph here, it seem to me, is totally out of the question. [60] Moving on to the very last paragraph, the narrator declares his unwillingness to tell further stories of erotic love. Instead, it is the royal offspring who are worth documenting.

Euarchus never materializes in the New Arcadia. However, his "absent presence" prevails in the revision. In particular, he speaks through Cecropia, his diabolic double. Cecropia is the very opposite of Euarchus--female, widow, rebel, atheist. Although she has a son Amphialus, he has been under the care of good Timotheus. With Cecropia is Artesia, her daughter surrogate. While Euarchus embodies absolute order, Cecropia is "the meeting place for all the work's visions of disorder--metaphysical, political, sexual, and poetic." [61] Polarized as they seem to be, Cecropia and Euarchus are two sides of the same coin, the double effects of patriarchal ideology. There is no one without the other. Cecropia's name suggests her antifeminism. [62] Cecropia is the feminine appropriation of Cecrops, the mythical Athenian ruler who deprived women of political power and subdued them within the patriarchal institution of marriage. Not surprisingly, Cecropia is the most eloquent of Arcadian misogynists. For her, anatomy is de stiny, and a woman's destiny is to mate and to mother. When Philoclea uses her vow of virginity as an excuse to deny Amphialus's suit, Cecropia answers: "No, no, my dear niece. Nature, when you were first born, vowed you a woman; and as she made you child of a mother, so, to do your best to be mother of a child" (NA, p. 332). As a spokeswoman for matrimony, Cecropia stresses that a woman needs a man to guide her intellectually and, more importantly, to appease her sexually. A woman's body speaks for itself, "'no' is no negative in a woman's mouth"--the body will betray her and welcome violation. Cecropia gives numerous examples to prove that women actually "delight in those weapons of ravishing" (NA, p. 402). She says nature gives men "imperious masterfulness" above women, who in their very creation are servants. She pushes her son Amphialus to use force on Philoclea: "know thyself a man; and show thyself a man--and believe me, upon my word, a woman is a woman" (NA, p. 403). Despite her untrustworthiness, Cec ropia speaks with more authority than is usually recognized because her remarks on women intriguingly echo what Euarchus has to say in the trial scene in the Old Arcadia. [63] Both Euarchus and Cecropia take a woman to be a mere sexual body that is beyond her control. Euarchus pronounces the legal terms of male ownership; Cecropia alludes to natural power to invalidate female autonomy. Euarchus takes patriarchal laws for granted; Cecropia provides the justification. Euarchus deliberately ignores any feelings and opinions women might have; Cecropia skillfully imposes men's feelings and opinions on women. In plain legal terms or flowery rhetoric, Euarchus and Cecropia speak the same language. Cecropia is a mirror image of Euarchus--inverted perhaps, but nonetheless alike.


The ending of the Old Arcadia calls attention to itself as contrived. It is a triumph of patriarchy, but only barely achieved through a quasi-miracle. Sidney seems to suggest that providence will side with patriarchy eventually. However, the fictiveness is deliberately advertised, presented as male wish fulfillment. Even though patriarchal ideology wins the battle, its contingency and vulnerability are also brought to the surface. Philanax's "honest passion" (OA. p. 390) against transvestism is understandable. When the line between masculinity and femininity is blurred, when homosexuality and heterosexuality become indistinguishable, and when the naturalness of gender division is challenged, patriarchal ideology is on the verge of collapsing; it threatens to subvert its own validity and to be visibly oppressive. Worse still, the repressed returns and parades through Euarchus's own son, a virtual mirror of himself, and threatens to expose his unwavering masculinity as pure fiction. Euarchus's only option is f urther renunciation--"Nay, I cannot in this case acknowledge you for mine: for never had I ... woman to my son" (OA, pp. 411-2)--but his defensive gesture turns out to be violently self-destructive. Euarchus has pointed out the interdependence between subject and prince in an analogue: "there is no man a father but to his child" (OA, p. 403). The death of the son is death of the father and destruction of the patriarchal system. It is divine intervention or, to put it more accurately, authorial manipulation, that saves patriarchy from total collapse.

In the New Arcadia, patriarchal ideology faces more difficulty. Female characters become more complicated and powerfully resist the confines of stereotypes. In addition to Pyrocles' transvestism, the gender boundary is further challenged by the cross-gender disguises of Zelmane and Parthenia. The endeavor of patriarchy to dominate the discourse becomes even more desperate. Gynophobia exists on a more profound level, in the forms of relational antifeminism, the condemnation of unruly female sexuality and bastardy, and the invention of the character Cecropia. Male control of women by way of the "traffic in women" becomes the norm practiced by the nobility. [64] Increasing patriarchal power demonizes bad women, imprisons good women, and makes both good and bad women vehicles of patriarchal propaganda. Pamela, who has eloped with Musidorus without her father's permission or knowledge in the Old Arcadia, passionately defends paternal authority and exalts it to religious levels in the New. Pamela might speak false ly and out of necessity, in the same way as Phioclea uses a vow of virginity to reject an unwanted suit, but the implication of female autonomy as a form of atheism is far too powerful to be easily dismissed.

However, it is the monotonous support of patriarchy shared by Euarchus and Cecropia, by Anaxius and Pamela, by father and son, by mother and daughter, by accuser and accused, by gaoler and prisoner, by providence and earthly devil, that threatens to subvert it. Sidney leaves the New Arcadia unfinished. Shortly before he breaks off in midsentence, Cecropia dies, Amphialus is seriously wounded, and their rebellious forces are almost extinguished. It seems that the narrative would soon have to resume the erotic intrigues in Basilius's household, as the first oracle predicts. However, the New Arcadia, as it is, could hardly accommodate the pleasurable love plot without a lifting of its suffocating antifeminism. On the one hand, when any relations with women can only be termed negative, when physical violence, prison, and captivity are enforced upon women, when rape is repeatedly threatened, when politically arranged marriages dominate the scene, and when patriarchal authority is passionately defended by the oppr essed, romantic love almost ceases to make sense. Amphialus's troublesome love for Philoclea is an example. [65] On the other hand, the marriage bond, the supposed "fair end" for lovers, is far from being the ideal, and is persistently linked to death; home is a tomb for two. [66] Euarchus has compared Basilius's family life to being buried alive, a metaphor to be actualized by his sentence on Gynecia: "death might redress their disjointed conjunction of marriage" (OA, p. 383). It is repeatedly suggested that marriage, jointed or disjointed, means death. Death is invoked in the epithalamium of Lalus and Kala (OA, p. 246) and becomes real for Argalus and Parthenia. The latter couple's epitaph (NA, pp. 399-400) strikingly paraphrases the description of their happy domestic scene given earlier (NA, pp. 371-2). Death is already staged in the married couple's perfect mutuality before it actually takes place, and the best wife is no more than the horrifying "Knight of the Tomb" (NA, p. 396) that incarnates Death. [ 67] Increasingly extreme gynophobia discredits heterosexual love for love's own sake, dooms marriage to death, denies sublimation, and makes any kind of compromise impossible.

Many critics have sought to explain Sidney's reluctance or inability to finish the revision. As the ending of the Old Arcadia is contrived, that of the New seems almost impossible. Clearly there are fundamental tensions that cannot be resolved, be they contradictions of personal feelings, ethics, politics, or aesthetics. [68] I want to add gender to the list as a possible explanation. I do not mean to overturn the general opinion that Sidney's portrayal of women is admirably enlightened and his sympathy for them profound. I only want to add that his powerful profeminism is only one contending force in the work's presentation of gender, and that ultimately it loses. Extreme masculine anxiety, the desperate striving of patriarchy to control the discourse, suffocates the Arcadian text. As R. W. Zandvoort observes, no matter how virtuous he is, Euarchus is no patron of the arts. [69] When Euarchism prevails to the degree of zero tolerance, it eventually kills its host. The Muses, after all, are female. Sidney ha s written a whole variety of discourses into the Arcadia, profeminist and antifeminist alike. While women's claims are suppressed by various forms of misogyny, patriarchal ideology is its own critique.

Bi-qi Beatrice Lei is a graduate student at New York University. She is finishing her dissertation, "Mimesis of Love: Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia."


(1.) Katherine Duncan-Jones best represents the profeminist position, starting her biography of Sidney with accounts of his humanistically educated mother, sister, aunts, and female cousins. She argues that personal experience is the reason for Sidney's unusually attentive and sympathetic literary treatment of women (Sir Philip Sidney: Courtier Poet [New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1991], pp. 1-20). Katherine J. Roberts supports this view, confining it to his mother and sister in Fair Ladies: Sir Philip Sidney's Female Characters, Renaissance and Baroque: Studies and Texts 9 (New York: Peter Lang, 1993), p. 116.

(2.) Margaret M. Sullivan, "Amazons and Aristocrats: The Function of Pyrocles' Amazon Role in Sidney's Revised Arcadia," in Playing with Gender: A Renaissance Pursuit, ed. Jean R. Brink, Maryanne C. Horowitz, and Allison P. Coudert (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1991), pp. 62-81, 68.

(3.) Blair Worden, The Sound of Virtue: Philip Sidney's "Arcadia" and Elizabethan Politics (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1996), p. 157.

(4.) References to Sir Philip Sidney's two Arcadias are from Jean Robertson's edition, The Countess of Pernbroke's Arcadia (The Old Arcadia) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973), hereafter OA, and Victor Skretkowicz's edition, The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia (The New Arcadia) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), hereafter NA. All subsequent citations will appear parenthetically in the text by work and page number.

(5.) Joan Rees, Sir Philip Sidney and "Arcadia" (Rutherford NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press; London: Associated Univ. Presses, 1991), p. 65.

(6.) Constance Jordan, Renaissance Feminism: Literary Texts and Political Models (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1990), pp. 220-42.

(7.) C. S. Lewis, English Literature in the Sixteenth Century excluding Drama, Oxford History of English Literature (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1954), p. 336.

(8.) See Gayle Rubin's influential work, "The Traffic in Women: Notes on the 'Political Economy' of Sex," in Toward an Anthropology of Women, ed. Rayne R. Reiter (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1975), pp. 157-210, 159.

(9.) Sullivan, "Getting Pamela out of the House: Gendering Genealogy in the New Arcadia," SNew 9, 2 (1988/1989): 3-18, and "Amazons and Aristocrats," pp. 62-81; Barbara J. Bono, "The Chief Knot of All the Discourse': The Maternal Subtext Tying Sidney's Arcadia to Shakespeare's King Lear," in Gloriana's Face: Women, Public and Private, in the English Renaissance, ed. S. P. Cerasano and Marion Wynne-Davies (Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1992), pp. 105-27; Anne Shaver, "Woman's Place in the New Arcadia," Snew 10, 2 (1989/1990): 3-15; Mary Ellen Lamb, Gender and Authorship in the Sidney Circle (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1990), pp. 72-114; Lynne Dickson, "Sidney's Grotesque Muse: Fictional Excess and the Feminine in the Arcadias," RenP (1992): 41-55; Rosemary Kegl, The Rhetoric of Concealment: Figuring Gender and Class in Renaissance Literature (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1994), pp. 43-75; and

Maria Teresa Micaela Prendergast, "Philoclea Parsed: Prose, Verse, and Femininity in Sidney's Old Arcadia, " in Framing Elizabethan Fictions: Contemporary Approaches to Early Modern Narrative Prose, ed. Constance C. Relihan (Kent OH: Kent State Univ. Press, 1996), pp. 99-116.

(10.) See, for instance, Stephen Orgel. Impersonations: The Performance of Gender in Shakespeare's England (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. 1996); Mark Breltenberg, Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England, Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture 10 (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. 1996): Lamb: Joy Wiltenburg, Disorderly Women and Female Power in the Street Literature of Early Modern England and Germany, Feminist Issues: Practice, Politics, Theory (Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia. 1992): and the essays collected in Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourses of Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe, ed. Margaret W. Ferguson, Maureen Quilligan, and Nancy J. Vickers, Women in Culture and Society (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. 1986).

(11.) Stephen Greenblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. 1980), p. 9.

(12.) Breitenberg. p. 11.

(13.) Wiltenburg, p. 9

(14.) Susan Bordo, "The Cartesian Masculinization of Thought." Signs 11.3 (Spring 1986): 439-56. 453.

(15.) Katherine Usher Henderson and Barbara F. McManus, Half Humankind: Contexts and Texts of the Controversy about Women in England. 1540-1640 (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1985). p. 47. For antifeminist literature of this period, see Katharine M. Rogers, The Troublesome Helpmate: A History of Misogyny in Literature (Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press, 1966), pp. 100-59.

(16.) See, for instance, Richard J. Berleth, "Fraile Woman. Foolish Gerle: Misogyny in Spenser's Mutabilitie Cantos," MP 93, 1 (August 1995): 37-53: and Peter Berek, "Text. Gender, and Genre in The Taming of the Shrew,' in "Bad" Shakespeare: Revaluations of the Shakespeare Canon, ed. Maurice Charney (Rutherford NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press; London: Associated Univ. Presses, 1988), pp. 91-104. Valerie Wayne's critique of the critical tendency to marginalize gender in texts less explicitly misogynistic or sexist is especially illuminating ("Historical Differences: Misogyny and Othello," in The Matter of Difference: Materialist Feminist Criticism of Shakespeare, ed. Wayne [Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 19911. pp. 153-79, 153-9).

(17.) Charges against Sidney's antifeminism are few and often thinly supported. For instance, William Craft quotes an attack from his student in Labyrinth of Desire: Invention and Culture in the Work of Sir Philip Sidney (Newark: Univ. of Delaware Press; London: Associated Univ. Presses. 1994), p. 116: S. K. Heninger Jr. calls Sidney a misogynist because all his female characters are morally flawed, ignoring that the same can be said of his male characters as well (Sidney and Spenser: The Poet as Maker (University Park: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press, 1989], pp. 446-7).

(18.) Duncan-Jones, Sir Philip Sidney. p. 2.

(19.) For the querelle des femmes tradition, see Joan Kelly, "Early Feminist Theory and the Querelle des Femmes, 1400-1789," in Women, History, and Theory: The Essays of Joan Kelly. Women in Culture and Society (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1984), pp. 65-109. For Renaissance controversy, see Linda Woodbridge. Women and the English Renaissance: Literature and the Nature of Womankind. 1540-1620 (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1984): Henderson and McManus; Pamela Joseph Benson, The Invention of the Renaissance Woman: The Challenge of Female Independence in the Literature and Thought of Italy and England (University Park: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press, 1992), pp. 205-30; and Kate Aughterson, ed., Renaissance Woman: A Source Book, Constructions of Femininity in England (London: Routledge, 1995).

(20.) Woodbridge, p. 5. Many Sidneians agree that debate is Sidney's favorite form. See R. W. Zandvoort, Sidney's Arcadia: A Comparison between the Two Versions (1929: reissued New York: Russell and Russell, 1968), p. 172: Neil L. Rudenstine, Sidney's Poetic Development (Cambridge MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1967), p. 35; Richard A. Lanham, The Old "Arcadia," in Sidney's "Arcadia," Yale Studies in English 158 (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1965), pp. 181-405, 328; Richard C. McCoy, Sir Philip Sidney: Rebellion in Arcadia (New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1979), p. 43; and Judith Haber, Pastoral and the Poetics of Self-Contradiction: Theocritus to Marvell (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994). pp. 54-5.

(21.) Karen Offen, "Defining Feminism: A Comparative Historical Approach," Signs 14, 1 (Autumn 1988): 119-57, 134-6: discussed in Jordan, pp. 7-8. Offen uses the term "relational" undifferentiatedly from "familial," which also suits the purpose of my argument.

(22.) Critics who explore Arcadian homoeroticism include Bruce R. Smith, Homosexual Desire in Shakespeare's England: A Cultural Poetics (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1991), pp. 139-45; Jordan, pp. 228-9; and Katrina Bachinger, Male Pretense: A Gender Study of Sir Philip Sidney's Life and Text, Salzburg Studies in English Literature, Elizabethan and Renaissance Studies 119 (Lewiston NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1994), pp. 98-116. For the connection between homosociality and homosexuality see Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire, Gender and Culture (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1985), pp. 1-15.

(23.) For a sampling of criticism on love in the Arcadia, see Kenneth Thorpe Rowe, Romantic Love and Parental Authority in Sydney's "Arcadia," University of Michigan Contributions in Modern Philology 4 (Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press, 1947); Mark Rose, Heroic Love: Studies in Sidney and Spenser (Cambridge MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1968]; Walter R. Davis, A Map of Arcadia: Sidney's Romance in Its Tradition, in Sidney's "Arcadia," pp. 1-179, 59-83; Duncan-Jones, "Sidney's Urania," RES n. s. 17, 66 (May 1966): 123-32; Rudenstine, pp. 23-45; Dorothy Connell, Sir Philip Sidney: The Maker's Mind (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977), pp. 9-33: Craft, Love in "Arcadia": A Study of Sidney's Heroic Romance (Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1980), "The Shaping Picture of Love in Sidney's New Arcadia," SP 81, 4 (Fall 1984): 395-418, and Labyrinth of Desire, pp. 53-75.

(24.) For instance, Pyrocles declares, "I am sick, and sick to the death. I am prisoner . . . I am slave" (OA, p. 24; NA, p. 76). Similar expressions run throughout the Arcadia, In the eclogues, Strephon and Klaius (OA, p. 329) and Philisides (OA, pp. 254-6) also express nostalgia for the idyllic homosociality they enjoyed before they fell prey to love of women.

(25.) Sheila T. Cavanagh, "Nightmares of Desire: Evil Women in The Faerie Queene, SP 91, 3 (Summer 1994): 313-38, 328.

(26.) Christopher Martin, "Misdoubting His Estate: Dynastic Anxiety in Sidney's Arcadia," ELR 18, 3 (Autumn 1988): 369-88, 376.

(27.) Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex, and Marriage in England, 1500-1800 (New York: Harper and Row, 1977), p. 85.

(28.) Jonathan Goldberg, "Fatherly Authority: The Politics of Stuart Family Images," in Rewriting the Renaissance, pp. 3-32 8.

(29.) See Susan Dwyer Amussen, An Ordered Society: Gender and Class in Early Modern England (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988), p. 1; and Ralph A. Houlbrooke, The English Family 1450-1700, Themes in British Social History (London: Longman 1984), p. 21. A fuller account of the strengthening of patriarchy is given in Stone, pp. 151-218.

(30.) Ferguson, Quilligan, and Vickers, "Introduction," in Rewriting the Renaissance, pp. xv-xxxi, xxiv.

(31.) Kelly, "The Social Relation of the Sexes: Methodological Implications of Women's History," In Women, History, and Theory, pp. 1-18, 13.

(32.) For instance, Thomas Becon (1564) and Henry Smith (1591) advise women to keep their houses, both alluding to Pauline teachings, extracted and discussed in Aughterson, pp. 83, 113, 195. See also Peter Stallybrass, "Patriarchal Territories: The Body Enclosed," in Rewriting the Renaissance, pp. 123-42, 126-7.

(33.) Robert J. Stoller, "Facts and Fancies: An Examination of Freud's Concept of Bisexuality (1973)." in Women and Analysis: Dialogues on Psychoanalytic Views of Femininity, ed. Jean Strouse (New York: Grossman, 1974), pp. 343-64, 358. See also Nancy Chodorow, The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1978). In my use of psychoanalysis, I am indebted to Breitenberg's book, Bono's article, and Coppelia Kahn's article, "The Absent Mother in King Lear," in Rewriting the Renaissance. pp. 33-49.

(34.) Desiderius Erasmus, "De Pueris Instituendis" (1529), in Desiderius Erasmus concerning the Aims and Methods of Education, Classics in Education 19, trans. William Harrison Woodward (1904: rprt. New York: Teachers College, Columbia Univ., 1964), p. 189: quoted in Richard Helgerson, The Elizabethan Prodigals (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1976), p. 36.

(35.) Breitenberg, p. 15. Louis Adrian Montrose brilliantly analyzes "the cultural contours" of the Elizabethan psyche in "'Shaping Fantasies': Figurations of Gender and Power in Elizabethan Culture," Representations 1, 2 (Spring 1983): 61-94.

(36.) See Frances A. Yates, Astraea: The Imperial Theme in the Sixteenth Century (1975; rprt. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985), pp. 77-8; and Montrose, p. 64.

(37.) See Duncan-Jones's discussion of the "Four Foster Children of Desire," and Sidney's letter to Walsingham in Sir Philip Sidney, pp. 8-9, 16-7, 205-8.

(38.) Sidney's relationship to Elizabeth is a subject well attended, and Worden's work is the fullest account; a concise bibliography is in Kegl, pp. 44-5. Particularly useful is Quilligan's feminist approach to the subject ("Sidney and His Queen," in The Historical Renaissance: New Essays on Tudor and Stuart Literature and Culture, ed. Heather Dubrow and Richard Strier [Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1988]. pp. 171-96).

(39.) Melanie Klein, "Weaning" (1936), in Love, Guilt, and Reparation, and Other Works, 1921-1945, Writings of Melanie Klein 1 (New York: Free Press, 1984), 1:290-305. 290-5.

(40.) Bono, pp. 107-8.

(41.) In addition to Gynecia, Cecropia, Andromana, Miso, and Parthenia's mother. Venus and Diana serve as Mira's mother figures. Craft remarks that good mothers are either nameless and absent or nameless and dead (Labyrinth of Desire, p. 116).

(42.) The fathers of Erona (OA, p. 67; NA, pp. 205-6), Urania (OA. p. 328), and Kala (OA, p. 244) are more "neutral" figures, but they are only very briefly mentioned and can hardly be considered characters. The old king of Iberia has a nameless daughter in addition to his two sons (NA, p. 217), and In the Old Arcadia, Kalodoulus is also said to have a daughter (OA, p. 417), but these daughters are only mentioned in a single sentence and never materialize.

(43.) Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge MA: Harvard Univ. Press. 1990), pp. 25-148.

(44.) Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologica, la 92, 1; quoted in Ian Maclean, The Renaissance Notion of Woman: A Study in the Fortunes of Scholasticism and Medical Science in European Intellectual Life. Cambridge Monographs on the History of Medicine (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1980), p. 8.

(45.) Thomas de Vio, Commentaru in quinque Mosaicos libros (Paris. 1539), p. 25; quoted in Maclean, p. 9.

(46.) By contrast, the only comparable pair of women are Pamela and Philoclea--remarkably the only pair of sisters in the Arcadia--and their differences outweigh their similarities. When women share a common identity and join in action, mischief and violence are often at hand: examples are Dido and her fellow gentlewomen, who join their power in revenge on Pamphilus, and Artesia and her fellow "shepherdesses," whose pastoral invitation leads the heroines to captivity.

(47.) Single fathers include Euarchus, Timotheus, Kalander, Chremes, Plexirtus and his father, Erona's father, and Plangus's father. Single mothers include Cecropia. Parthenia's mother, and Musidorus's mother, In the Old Arcadia, Lalus marries Kala and Geron has a wife, but there is no mention of offspring. In the New Arcadia, the only happily married couple, Parthenia and Argalus, have no children.

(48.) Stone, p. 117.

(49.) Stone, p. 104.

(50.) Bono, p. 111.

(51.) Claude Levi-Strauss, The Elementary Structures of Kinship, rev. edn., trans. James Harle Bell, John Richard von Sturmer, and Rodney Needham (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969), pp. 478-97.

(52.) Elsdon Best, The Whare Kohanga (the "Nest House") and Its Lore, Dominion Museum Bulletin 13 (Wellington, New Zealand: W. A. G. Skinner, 1929), p. 34; quoted in Levi-Strauss, p. 481, and Rubin, p. 173.

(53.) For instance, see Worden, pp. 235-7; Zandvoort, pp. 150-4; Lanham, pp. 315-6: Jon S. Lawry, Sidney's Two "Arcadias": Pattern and Proceeding (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1972), pp. 138-40; Helgerson, pp. 138-41, 154; A. C. Hamilton, Sir Philip Sidney: A Study of His Life and Works (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1977), P. 41; McCoy, p. 130; Ronald Levao, Renaissance Minds and Their Fictions: Cusanus, Sidney, Shakespeare (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1985), p. 208; Heninger, p. 455; and Craft, Labyrinth of Desire, p. 31.

(54.) For instance, see Rose, pp. 70-2; Margaret Dana, "The Providential Plot of the Old Arcadia," in Sir Philip Sidney: An Anthology of Modern Criticism, ed. Dennis Kay (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987). PP. 83-102, 99-101; Jordan. pp. 234-40: and Rees, pp. 130-2.

(55.) Sullivan's "Amazons and Aristocrats" is the only extended study of the trial scene in terms of gender.

(56.) Martin p. 384.

(57.) As Martin points out, the importance of reproducing oneself is more explicitly pronounced by Geron in the third eclogues, pp. 384-5. Basilius's dynastic anxiety is often interpreted as alluding to Elizabeth and her French marriage issue. In addition to Martin, also see Leonard Tennenhouse, "Arcadian Rhetoric: Sidney and the Politics of Courtship," in Sir Philip Sidney's Achievements. ed. M. J. B. Allen, Dominic Baker-Smith. Arthur F. Kinney, and Sullivan (New York: AMS Press, 1990), pp. 201-13.

(58.) Sullivan discusses this in terms of male property right ("Amazons and Aristocrats," pp. 64-6).

(59.) Sullivan, "Amazons and Aristocrats," p. 67.

(60.) See Rowe, p. 34: Lanham. p. 404: and Bachinger. p. 103.

(61.) Levao p. 235.

(62.) Cecropia's name is discussed by Duncan-Jones, Sir Philip Sidney. p. 263: Martin, p. 386; and Bono, pp. 121, 126-7, to whose analysis I am particularly indebted.

(63.) Kegl, for instance, argues that Sidney discredits Cecropia's misogyny (pp. 69. 73).

(64.) Many of the major characters are somehow related to one another through marriage: see the genealogy tables by Hamilton (p. 175), and Skretkowicz (NA. pp. 620-2). Even Pyrocles arranges political marriages, linking the states Damascus and Paphiagonia (OA, p. 154). Pontus and Phrygia (NA. p. 177).

(65.) See Shaver's discussion of Amphialus (pp. 6-9).

(66.) See Neda Jeny's list of the not "even tolerably successful" couples in Notable Images of Virtues and Vices: Character Types in Sir Philip Sidney's "New Arcadia." American University Studies: Series 3. Comparative Literature 24 (New York: Peter Lang. 1989), pp. 73-4: and Catherine Bates's remark on Sidney's cynicism about marriage in The Rehtoric of Courtship in Elizabethan Language and Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1992). pp. 125-9.

(67.) The marriage of Argalus and Parthenia is universally celebrated as ideal: for instance. Alan Sinfield, Literature in Protestant England 1560-1660 (London: Croom Helm: Totowa NJ: Barnes and Noble, 1983), p. 61: Thelma N. Greenfield The Eye of Judgment: Reading the "New Arcadia" (Lewisburg: Ake Bucknell Univ. Press: London: Associated Univ. Presses. 1982), pp. 72-3: Ake Bergvall, The "Enabling of Judgement": Sir Philip Sidney and the Education of the Reader. Studia Anglistica Upsaliensia 70 (Uppsala, Sweden: Uppsala Univ. Press. 1989). p. 110: Hamilton, p. 137; Craft, "Shaping Picture of Love." p. 406: Lawry, p. 164: and Duncan-Jones, Sir Philip Sidney. p. 262. I am more inclined to Bates's contrary reading. which emphasizes the price they pay for their marriage. pp. 126-8.

(68.) For instance, see Helgerson, pp. 150-5; McCoy, pp. 214-7; Maurice Evans, "Divided Aims in the Revised Arcadia," in Sir Philip Sidney and the Interpretation of Renaissance Culture: The Poet in His Time and in Ours, ed. Gary F. Waller and Michael D. Moore (London: Croom Helm; Totowa NJ: Barnes and Noble, 1984), PP. 34-43: Levao, pp. 247-9; and Dickson, p. 55.

(69.) Zandvoort, p. 154.