The project began in the fall of 2010 when the Penguin edition of Sidney’s Arcadia went out of print, leaving Charles Ross's introduction to 16th-century literature class with no text.
With students from China, Korea, Italy, Saudi Arabia, and even Indiana, the class decided to produce a restored, modernized edition that would suit the needs of a global audience. We started transcribing and editing the 1674 edition and invited Robert Stillman, the well-known Sidney scholar, to speak to us at an event we called Sidney Day.
In 2012, Joel Davis, former president of the Sidney Society, reviewed our work in progress and agreed to co-edit the volume. Relying on Davis's bibliographical theory as explained in his book The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia and the Invention of English Literature, Davis and Ross chose to work from the 1593 edition, which was source of all later printings but has never been the base text for a critical edition.
There remained the problem of how to bring Sidney's poetry alive for contemporary readers. In 2015, Edward Abe Plough began the task of composing setting the seventy-three poems in the Arcadia to modern music.