About this Blog

In this blog I offer a reading of Sir Philip Sidney’s sonnets in Astrophil and Stella, based on my experience of teaching Renaissance literature in a college classroom for the past forty years or so. The general pattern (with occasional exceptions) will be one sonnet in each bi-weekly post, covered in numerical order. Although I am sure many people have offered wise insights on these poems in the past, the sonnets themselves were very personal in their composition, so I have tried to offer a very personal response, rather than a scholarly compilation of other people’s opinions.  The one exception is that the text of A and S from which I am working is in Sir Philip Sidney: The Major Works, edited by Katherine Duncan-Jones, and where I think that editor’s explanatory note might be helpful in identifying arcane or topical references, I have introduced it. I have also used her editing of the poems as my starting point on text, but have not slavishly followed it.  All modern editions, of course, make changes in Renaissance spellings, punctuation, and capitalization, so where I think a different update (within the acceptable range of variation) makes more sense to me, I have made changes of my own.  Readers responding to these blog entries will probably suggest where wiser readings may be found, or may offer their own, and I certainly hope they do. — JCS

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