Prophecy and Fiction: Early Modern Theories of Poetic Invention
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Philip Sidney’s Apology for Poetry defends the capacity of poetry to teach truth whether it is prophecy or fiction. Sidney associates fiction with prophecy to elevate fiction and show that it reveals truth even if it isn’t true. While John Milton intertwines fiction and prophecy to emphasize the didactic quality of Paradise Lost, Milton’s contemporary, Thomas Traherne, defends the ability of fiction to teach readers while treating fiction as such in his Centuries of Meditations and Poems of Felicity.