Date of Award

Summer 1948

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The general purpose of this thesis is to determine the literary value of Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophel and Stella. First of all, an analysis of the sonnet cycle as such is undertaken to evaluate these lyrics with respect to the unity and logical development of theme. Secondly, a close study of the content material is proposed with the aim of reflecting the poet's ability to personalize and adapt conventionalized modes of expression and of portraying his excellence as a poet-courtier and literary craftsman. Thirdly, two research problems are projected--one, relating to the identity of the lady of the sonnets, the other, relating to the date of the composition of the sonnets--so that an acceptable solution of these controversial problems can be proffered. Finally, an attempt is made to make manifest Sidney's originality in order to offset the common criticism that the sonnet sequence is a conventional imitation.