Astrophil And Stella Analysis

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Versions and Variants of Sidney’s “Astrophil and Stella” In comparing the 1591 and 1598 versions of Sir Phillip Sidney’s “Astrophil and Stella”, it is said that the 1598 publication proves to be the most authoritative version. The 1598 edition, published along with other works in Sidney’s Arcadia, contains many spelling, grammar, and punctuation corrections; a complete restructuring and organization of the sonnet sequence; as well as the replacement of lines that had been missing or miscopied in the original 1591 edition. The differences between the two editions are especially prevalent in the first and sixth sonnets of the poem. While these corrections are seemingly subtle, they prove to be important in supporting the framework of the Petrarchan…show more content…
Whereas the 1591 version’s sonnet lines appear to be more grouped together, the 1598 version separates the octave into two groups and the sestet into two groups as well, helping to support and enhance the Petrarchan style. This support allows for the turn at the sestet, such as the one in the first sonnet: “But words came halting…” (9), to be put on display. Along with many spelling and punctuation corrections, the first sonnet contains a significant change within its first line. The 1591 version of the line “and fayne my love in verse to show”(1) is rearranged to “…and faine in verse my love to show” (1) in the 1598 edition. This rearrangement improves the flow of the line but also subtly adjusts it’s meaning. Whereas the 1591 edition states that he wants his love to show in his poetry, the 1598 edition changes by stating he wants his poetry to show his love. Another correction occurs in this sonnet at the beginning of the sestet, replacing “out” (9) in the 1591 version with “forth” (9) in the 1598 version. As the speaker is explaining his struggle to find the words to describe his pain, the use of “out” suggests that it is the speaker who is pulling at the words whereas “forth” puts the onus on the words, that it is the words which are trying to reach him. This reiterates the speaker’s efforts to connect poetry with nature,…show more content…
For example, the line “Of living deathes, deere wounds, faire, stormes, and friesing fyres” (4) contains a few commas that break up one of the oxymorons. These commas are removed in the 1598 version, changing it to: “Of living deathes, dear woundes, faire storms & freesing fires” (4). The correction demonstrates the importance of comma placement and how an incorrect comma can throw off the flow of a line or even the entire sonnet. Therefore, the comma corrections allow the series oxymorons to remain separated, as was probably the intent in the first edition. A major difference also within this sonnet occurs at the tenth line, where in the 1591 version a part of the line appears to be missing: “Whiles teares poure out his inke, and sighs breathe” (10). This missing part, where Sidney is discussing the conventions of other poets, is replaced in the 1598 version so that the line becomes “While teares powre out his inke, & sighs breathe out his words” (10). These missing words affect the style, flow, and the speaker’s statement as he is stating that he can better express his emotions of love through his voice rather than by borrowing overused poetic

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