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Introduction to the Site

About the Project

Sir Philip Sidney, World Bibliography is a comprehensive listing of printed material by and about the Elizabethan courtier and writer from his lifetime to the present. It includes not only editions of his works and critical and scholarly commentary on them, but also biographical and bibliographical studies and literary works written about him, such as funeral elegies and fictional representations of his life. All items through 1984 are fully annotated. From 1985 to the present, we include full updates as well as digests of articles and reviews of books on Sidney published in Sidney Newsletter and Sidney Journal. We also include many abstracts of articles supplied by their authors or by other scholars.

Our initial aims in compiling the bibliography were twofold: to call attention to a large body of secondary material not listed before the project began in 1980, and to provide readers with thorough annotations so that more of their time might be given to Sidney and less to research. More recently, a third aim has been added: to keep the database current and make it conveniently accessible on the World Wide Web.

About the Compilers of the Project

Through 1984, the work of locating, examining, and annotating material was shared by Donald Stump, Jerome S. Dees, and C. Stuart Hunter. Since Professors Dees and Hunter have since gone on to other projects, Professor Stump is now the primary editor and compiler and Annie Papreck is serving as the assistant editor. For material published since 1984,the responsibility for providing abstracts has devolved mainly on the scholars and critics whose work is represented.

In order to insure that each section of the bibliography was initially overseen by someone familiar with all the material that it contains, the three original compilers divided their labors. Professor Stump had primary responsibility for the sections involving Arcadia, the Defence of Poetry, the minor prose works and correspondence, the bibliographies, and the literary works pertaining to Sidney. Professor Dees confirmed all the citations in the sections on Sidney's life and poetry, and he and Professor Hunter annotated nearly all the material in those sections. We trust that this procedure minimized the omissions inevitable in a project that covers more than four centuries and casts its nets wide.

Comparisons with Earlier Sidney Bibliographies

Although previous bibliographies devoted to Sidney have often done well the tasks for which they were designed, all were limited in scope or coverage. Most encompassed only a brief period or a single work by Sidney, and nearly all were inconsistent with one another in organization and style. Taken together, they provided reasonably thorough coverage only for items published since 1940. Moreover, the bibliographies were scattered in numerous sources, and to do a thorough search--even one limited to scholarship of the last fifty years--scholars had to consult several of them. Clearly, our initial project to provide a single listing addressed a pressing need. More recent work to make the database randomly accessible on the Internet also makes it available in a powerful new way to readers around the world.

The most inclusive of the earlier bibliographies, Samuel A. Tannenbaum's Sir Philip Sidney (A Concise Bibliography), was designed to encompass material published before 1941, but in fact included only part of the available material. It also adopted an unusual method of organization and citation, and it had no annotations. G.R. Guffey's Elizabethan Bibliographies Supplements VII: Samuel Daniel 1942-1965, Michael Drayton 1941-1965, Sir Philip Sidney 1941-1965, an updating of Tannenbaum's work, suffered from similar limitations. Mary A. Washington's helpful book Sir Philip Sidney: An Annotated Bibliography of Modern Criticism, 1941-1970, employed a much more useful method of organization and citation and includes annotations, yet it comprehends only a thirty-year period. Although James L. Harner's English Renaissance Prose Fiction, 1500-1660: An Annotated Bibliography of Modern Criticism spans a broader period (beginning in the year 1800), it covers only Sidney's Arcadia. Apart from bibliographies in critical books and the annotated listings of major items that appear from time to time in Sidney Newsletter, the only other guides to the secondary literature are journal articles written in a discursive style. Three useful articles of this sort are W.L. Godshalk's "Recent Studies in Sidney (1965-70)," English Literary Renaissance 2 (1972), W.L. Godshalk and A.J. Colaianne's "Recent Studies in Sidney (1970-77)," English Literary Renaissance 8 (1978), and Derek B. Alwes and W.L. Godschalk's "Recent Studies in Sidney (1978-86)," in Sidney in Retrospect: Selections from "English Literary Renaissance", edited by Arthur F. Kinney (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988).

The principal difficulties in using these bibliographies were not only that they were scattered and inconsistent with one another, but also that they left a great deal of material out of account. Together they included only a little more than sixty percent of the scholarship published on Sidney before 1985. None included the material printed before 1800 on which all modern scholarship is based, such as Renaissance editions of Sidney's works, contemporary commentary on them, and biographical and historical documents. None, moreover, offered an adequate list of literary works written about Sidney. The current project seeks to correct these deficiencies. It includes more than 1200 items never before listed in the major bibliographies on Sidney prior to 1985, many of them from the twentieth-century. It also makes material published after 1984 available and brings all these materials together in a consistent format, providing extensive annotations and cross-references.

Donald Stump
Saint Louis University

Donald Stump (Principal Author and Editor), C. Stuart Hunter, Jerome S. Dees

Sponsored by Department of English & Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies

©2001-2005 Saint Louis University