- Purchase/rental options available:
Philip Sidney's Astrophil and Stella presents Astrophil's conflicted emotions for a Stella who is both schoolmistress and text. Such discordant emotions reveal a "literacy affect" that grew from literacy education's changing place in Elizabethan England. This essay traces the literacy affect through a schoolboy letter from Philip's parents and his subsequent correspondence with Hubert Languet. Astrophil and Stella's mixed feelings about writing include a need for human textual presence and a desire for unity with the "alma pater," a schoolmasterly figure who appropriates maternal nurturance. Thus while learning to write promises self-realization, anxieties over meaning and memory threaten self-loss.