Synopses & Reviews
The most famous collection of love poems in the English language, Shakespeare's Sonnets
have spoken to generations of readers who have turned to them again and again when searching for supreme expressions of love. Covering a whole range of emotions from joy to anguish, these sonnets reveal the beauty, power, inventiveness, and originality of Shakespeare's verse.
The collection depicts in beautiful, poignant, and intriguing language the poet's celebration of his passionate friendship with a young man, his grief over a friend's seduction by his own mistress, his chagrin at the friend's relationship with a rival poet, and, in the final group of poems, his own humiliating infatuation with "a woman colored ill"--the Dark Lady who has tempted his "better angel" from him.
Lyrically beautiful and psychologically fascinating, the sonnets both appeal as individual poems, and as an intricately related sequence. This volume presents all the sonnets in a freshly edited text and includes a few little-known alternative versions.
Shakespeare's Sonnets is the most famous collection of love poems in the English language. Beautiful, poignant, and intriguing, they describe the poet's passionate friendship with a young man, his friend's seduction by the poet's own mistress, his friend's relationship with a rival poet, and most famously, Shakespeare's humiliated infatuation with the Dark Lady, "a woman colored ill, " who, far from being the marble-hearted femme fatale of fashionable sonnet sequences, is "the bay where all men ride." These 154 poems have aroused speculation ever since they were written: who are the poet's handsome friend, his rival, and the Dark Lady? Who is the mysterious Mr. W. H., "the onlie begetter of these insuing sonnets, " to whom the publisher dedicated them? Despite much labored study on the subject, the poems have kept their secrets. The poems are presented here, with an informative introduction and in a freshly edited text along with A Lover's Complaint and little-known alternative versions of four of the sonnets.
The sonnets in this collection describe Shakespeare's passionate friendship with a young man, his friend's seduction by the poet's own mistress, his friend's relationship with a rival poet and most famously, his humiliated infatuation with the Dark Lady.
About the Author
Stanley Wells is Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Professor of Shakespeare Studies, and Director of the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, 1988-97, now Emeritus Professor. He is one of the foremost Shakespeare scholars of his generation. He has edited The Complete Oxford Shakespeare
, An Oxford Anthology of Shakespeare
, and The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare
, amongst others.
Table of Contents
Introduction, Stanley Wells
A Lover's Complaint
Alternative Versions of Sonnets 2, 106, 138, and 144
Index of First Lines of the Sonnets