Ginnys Oblivion

2410 words, 10 pages

Intro Sample...

Astrophil and Stella as a Defense of Lyric Poetry
Astrophil and Stella is a lyric sequence that, among other things, argues for the importance of lyric poetry. I use the word “argue” loosely. I mean it does what it proves. A lyric sequence often resists linear or narrative meaning. Thomas Roche, in the introduction to his book Petrarch and the English Sonnet Sequence, discusses many of the ways critics misinterpret lyric texts based on biographical, formal, and sequential fallacies (x-xii). Many scholars read the relationship between Astrophil and Stella as a parallel to Sidney’s autobiographical relationship with Penelope Rich. Roche asserts this is because “the inconsequence of narrative elements of... View More »

Body Sample...

Low writes, as “much as we try to draw a sharp line between Astrophil and Sidney, Sidney chose to identify himself in some measure with his protagonist” (14). Furthermore, Low quotes Alan Sinfield, a critic who feels that biography can not be totally exempt from interpretations of Sidney’s sequence: “‘If the poem is Sidney’s dire warning of the dangers of the overthrow of reason and all Christian values by sexual passion . . . then it is very strange that he should wish to identify himself at all with his protagonist’” (Low 14). Consequently, I dispensed with both biography and reductive morality while reading Astrophil and Stella. I realized that without imagining Sidney as Astrophil’s puppet-master, Astrophil’s predicament is very moving. The poems portray a complex emotional predicament: what if an intelligent, witty young man falls in love with a virtuous, married woman? The poems question the meaning of love and desire, and they need to be lyric. Lyric poetry is an appropriate vehicle for overwhelming, often contradictory emotions to find voice. Astrophil’s muse prompts, “‘look in thy heart and write” (1, line 14), and he does. The result is a collection of lyric poems that explore grief, desire, fury and passion as a unifying force.
Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella is an argument for lyric poetry through his use of essential lyric elements: imitation, timelessness (in terms of narrative setting), and multiplicity of address—all of which overlap in many ways. I will not use Sidney’s An Apology for Poetry to exemplify my points because, as Paul Allen ...

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