Sidney's father-in-law,
Sir Francis Walsingham

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Urania Departs from Strephon
and Claius (from the 1643
Arcadia, Book I)

Pyrocles and Musidorus
Shipwrecked (from the 1643
Arcadia, Book I)

The Princesses Flee the Lion
and the Bear (from the 1643
Arcadia, Book I)

Forces Assemble during
Amphialus's Rebellion
(from the 1643 Arcadia,
Book III)

Basilius Awakes as from the
Dead (from the 1643 Arcadia,
Book V)

Guide for Browsers


Early editions. Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century editions and translations of Sidney's works are generally cited with quasi-facsimile title-page transcriptions. The only exceptions are first printings of isolated poems or minor prose works that appeared without title-page acknowledgment in books devoted to other subjects. In citing early editions, we include the full text of the title-page and a description of the borders and/or the ornamentation. Within quasi-facsimile title-page transcriptions,

  • Italic indicates italic in the original and bold indicates either black-letter type or, in rare instances, a display type.

    Page numbers include front matter and text as actually counted, not as indicated by printed page numbers. Leading and trailing blank leaves are not included in the count, but blank versos of final pages are included.

  • Variants of the early printings are noted but not given separate listings.
Split entries. In annotating books published before 1985 that include at least two full chapters on Sidney, we list each chapter independently. In such cases, a brief but complete description of the full book appears, followed by cross-references to more detailed entries. After 1985, books are covered by reviews from Sidney Newsletter and Sidney Journal and are not split unless the work is a collection of independently authored articles. In that case, each article is given its own entry and the part of the review pertaining to it is included there.

Cross-references. These are given by author and item number, except when the author is unknown or is the same as for the item in which the cross-reference occurs. In such cases, item numbers alone are listed.

Evaluative judgments. In the annotations of material published prior to 1985, no attempt is made to comment on the merits or faults of the works being described. Such judgments are, we think, best left to our readers. Beginning in 1985, books on Sidney are supplied with reviews, which, of course, include evaluations. Scholars who have published books who would prefer to employ an abstract in place of the review are invited to send such abstracts to the Principal Editor.

Examination policy. For items published before 1985, we saw at first-hand the title pages and contents of virtually all the works cited in the bibliography. Whenever possible, we consulted both first editions and later revisions. Those few items that we could not obtain were cited from the best available sources and noted as "not seen" or "not located." For items published after 1984, we cite from the best available bibliographic sources, relying on authors to correct errors and to supply abstracts.


In searching the database, our software scans citations, abstracts, and a hidden indexing field. The last of these includes a standardized set of synonyms for key words in the citation and abstract. Even items for which we have no abstract sometimes include indexing terms derived from our sources. For items published after 1984, indexing is limited, since keyword searches serve much the same function. For those through 1984, however, a very full set of indexing terms used in the original book is available for searching on line. Scholars familiar with the headings in our original indexes may continue to use them on line. Indexing for material published through 1984 includes the following:

  • Names of critics, biographers, commentators, and editors of Sidney's works whose publications are cited in the bibliography. We index only items actually written by the person in question. Replies by others may be located through the very full set of cross-references provided in the annotations.

    Names of persons mentioned in the annotations. For authors, we also include titles of their works.

  • Subjects related to Sidney's life and works. Characters such as Pyrocles and Musidorus, who go by various names while in disguise, are always cited by their original names. To eliminate pointless clutter in the subsection "characters," we have listed only items that actually have to do with characterization or character-roles per se. Those that simply allude to characters in passing are ignored. Wherever possible, we have attempted to keep the subheadings under the titles of each of Sidney's works constant Readers interested in Sidney's neo-Platonism, for example, will find material by searching for the heading "philosophical background." A narrower focus may be obtained by using such terms as "Platonic" or "Aristotelian.

We have sought to include everything of substance written by or about Sidney from his lifetime to the present, no matter how far afield it may lie. To observe some reasonable limits in an otherwise limitless search, however, we have adopted the following guidelines:


Primary editions. We have cited all printings of Sidney's works that are of historical or scholarly interest, including virtually all material from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries and all the twentieth-century editions and anthologies that we could find which contain at least one of Sidney's prose works or poetic collections in its entirety and which supply substantive introductions, notes, or other aids. We have not attempted to cite miscellanies that include excerpts from his prose works or scattered selections of his poetry unless these are of historical or textual interest. Nor have we systematically collected school or university textbooks, though we have included a number of such works, and all that mention Sidney in their titles.

First printings of Sidney's correspondence. Since the letters have often been published piecemeal in biographies, calendars of manuscripts, and partial collections, we have attempted to list all the early printings of individual letters that we encountered.

Secondary works of scholarship or criticism. We have attempted to list all those that mention Sidney or one of his works in their titles. These include books, Ph.D. dissertations, articles in popular and scholarly periodicals, and reprints of such articles.

Literary works written largely or entirely about Sidney. We have not listed allusions, brief passages in works on other subjects, or imitations of Sidney's works. We have, however, collected elegies, epitaphs, poems of praise, books of historical fiction, and other works that give sustained attention to Sidney or his writings.

Textbook anthologies containing works by Sidney. We have listed a selection of those that contain substantial prefatory matter and notes.

Literary histories. Since single-volume surveys of English literature rarely give Sidney detailed or original coverage, we have limited our search to specialized works and to general histories that devote at least a full volume to the English Renaissance.

Scholarly works about Sidney's era or about his social or literary milieu. We have made an extensive but not exhaustive search of potentially useful works on the following sorts: books on Elizabethan social, political, and cultural history; biographies of the persons with whom Sidney was most closely associated in private and public life; studies of the principal genres in which he wrote; and books on the authors from whom he drew or on whom he exerted substantial influence.

Reviews. We have cited only those that make their own contribution to scholarship or concentrate on Sidney in his own right.

Works wrongly attributed to Sidney. We have not attempted to list individual lyric poems in this category, since they are well covered in Ringler's edition of The Poems of Sir Philip Sidney. We have, however, cited longer items published under Sidney's name or sometimes mistaken for his work.


Manuscripts. Since those containing works by Sidney have been described elsewhere, we have concentrated entirely on printed material. Full manuscript information is available in Peter Beal's Index of English Literary Manuscripts and in the introductions and notes to the Oxford editions of Sidney's works, edited by Jean Robertson, William Ringler, and Katharine Duncan-Jones and Jan van Dorsten (items 55, 92, and 22).

Dictionaries, handbooks, encyclopedias, and other works of general reference.

Reprints of nineteenth- and twentieth-century books of scholarship and criticism. Revised editions are listed if the title or the material on Sidney has been substantially altered. Rare books and those published before 1800 are cited in the original edition and also in a more accessible version (if available).

Printed abstracts of unpublished conference papers.

Masters theses. A partial listing of these may be found in Patsy C. Howard's Theses in English Literature, 1894-1970.

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

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

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