Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

Vernon Dickson

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

James Sutton

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Andrew Strycharski

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Classical Literature and Philology, Comparative Literature, English Language and Literature, Literature in English (Anglophone outside British), Literature in English (British Isles)

Date of Defense



The purpose of this thesis was to examine how the Elizabethan poets Edmund Spenser and Sir Philip Sidney explored the idea of emulation within the pages of The Faerie Queene and The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia. Specifically, how both poets employed the unorthodox characters of Malbecco and Amphialus within texts meant to pro vide moral instruction to the reader.

This research will be accomplished by examining the philosophical underpinnings relating to ideas about emulation, conducting a thorough close reading of primary texts, and studying scholarly articles relating to Spenser, Sidney, the English Renaissance, and emulation.

This thesis will endeavor to establish that the figures of Malbecco and Amphialus serve a vital role within their respective texts. Their role in Spenser and Sidney’s seminal works is to serve not as exemplars of emulation for the reader to imitate, but exemplars of error whose example the reader is meant to be wary of.






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