A Model of Creation? Scott, Sidney and Du Bartas

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William Scott’s translation from Guillaume de Saluste Du Bartas’ La Sepmaine, which follows Scott's treatise in the surviving manuscript, is an essential counterpart to the Model of Poesy. As well as being a practical demonstration of Scott’s technical principles, the translation provides the most immediate and enriching literary context for the Model’s arguments about the purpose of poetry. Shared images of making (e.g. gestation, architecture and agriculture) that describe the creation of poems in the Model and the creation of the world in Du Bartas evoke the analogy between the poetic maker and divine Maker, which Sidney had explored in the Defence. Yet the Model’s more positive assessment of the role of human reason in poetic composition contrasts with Du Bartas’ insistence on the poet’s dependence on prior creative acts. So how alike for Scott are composing a poem and creating the world? How far is a Model of Poesy also a Model of Creation? By pursuing interpretative questions like these, the Du Bartas translation emerges as a key resource for assessing how Scott wrote the Model, what makes his arguments distinctive, and how he assimilated insights from contemporary writers, especially Sidney’s account of the poet as maker.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-90
Number of pages22
JournalSidney Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


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