Astrophil and Stella Maris: Poetic Ladies, the Virgin Mary and the Culture of Love in Reformation England

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Abstract

This article considers the place of the Virgin Mary in Sidney's influential Astrophil and Stella. Building on recent developments in regard to Sidney, the Virgin Mary in Renaissance culture, English Petrarchism and also the religion of early modern England, it shows that the idea of love of Sidney's sonnet sequence derives from a Platonically-inflected, Catholic cult of the saints, in which the Virgin was Queen. In Astrophil and Stella, that love encounters Reformed anxieties over idolatry, to reveal Sidney as a religiously conflicted Protestant with deep and literary Catholic sympathies. The article concludes by examining Sidney's Marian influence on poems from sonnet sequences by Samuel Daniel, Bartholomew Griffin, Edmund Spenser and Barnabe Barnes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-92
Number of pages24
JournalSidney Journal
Volume32
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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