William Bacon 's The Defense Of Poesy

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The attitude towards literature in the 17th century was divided among society. There was the opinion of the religious leaders who believed that literature was corrupted. Literature in their eyes will lead society to regress. On the other hand, we have writers such as Philip Sidney, Thomas Browne, and Francis Bacon who argued that literature was beneficial to society. In hindsight, we can see that the religious leaders were wrong. History serves as perfect evidence as to how literature helped society advance in positive ways instead of regressing. Philip Sidney was best known for his literature piece, The Defense of Poesy. Sidney believed that literature unlike history allowed societies to make connections with reality, as well as allowing society to innovate: So, then, the best of the historian is subject to the poet; for whatsoever action or faction, whatsoever counsel, policy, or war-stratagem the historian is bound to recite, that may the poet, if he list, with his imitation make his own, beautifying it both for further teaching and more delighting, as it pleaseth him; having all, from Dante’s Heaven to his Hell, under the authority of his pen (279). Sidney’s works laid the foundation for writers such as Thomas Browne, and Francis Bacon. Thomas Browne used literature to make observations of real-world contemporary issues. This allowed society to come up with their own logical reasoning without blindly following the established “truth”. Francis Bacon on the other hand used literature to innovate, and create new ideas. This allowed society to create new possibilities, or a better tomorrow. Whether its fixing contemporary issues, or creating new possibilities; both uses of literature improve society. . Literature pieces s... ... middle of paper ... ...hat the stereotype of women perpetually being inferior to men was just a myth. This gave women opportunities to positively contribute to society. With Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, George Lucas helped society realize the danger of the Cold War. This ignited a fire of nationalism within the United States to win the Space Race. The second way literature helped was that it led society to imagine new possibilities of improvement. In The Two Treatises of Civil Government, John Locke was able to enlighten society about a democratic government. Locke’s idea of democratic government then influenced the United States to create the U.S Constitution in 1789. Religious leaders of the 17th century were most definitely wrong about literature leading societies to regress. In hindsight, we are able to witness how literature has been able to positively affect society.

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