A Viceroy's Vindication?: Sir Henry Sidney's Memoir of Service in Ireland, 1556-1578
Three times Viceroy, Sir Henry Sidney was a key figure in the Elizabethan conquest of Ireland. Sidney's account of his public career in Ireland, written in the winter of 1582-3, is one of the earliest political memoirs in English literature. It is unique among early memoirs in its size, richness of detail, and apparent fidelity to the factual record.
Composed in plain prose and consciously shorn of decoration and classical allusion, his narrative presents an individual with attitudes and preoccupations at odds with the zealous advocates of military conquest and religious oppression so often portrayed by historians. By exploring its emphases, omissions and deviations from the recorded sequence of events, the editor's introduction reveals a surprisingly complex set of Elizabethan perceptions and prejudices about Ireland. This memoir, last edited for publication in the mid-nineteenth century, is an essential source for the study of the English in Ireland.
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