Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets: A New Commentary and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more


or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Trade in Yours
For a 3.20 Gift Card
Trade in
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Start reading Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets: A New Commentary on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets: A New Commentary [Hardcover]

Don Paterson
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.99
Price: 14.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
You Save: 3.60 (20%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it Wednesday, 3 Sept.? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 5.99  
Hardcover 14.39  
Paperback 9.09  

Book Description

4 Nov 2010
Shakespeare's sonnets of 1609 are as thrilling and persuasive today as they were when they were first published: perhaps no collection of verses before or since has so captured the imagination of lovers and readers as these. In this stunning new edition of the work, Don Paterson, an award-winning sonneteer and lyric poet in his own right, offers an illuminating and accessible guide to these unforgettable verses. In a series of mesmerising and highly-entertaining short commentaries, placed alongside the sonnets themselves, Don Paterson explains the inner workings of the poems: their hidden structures and techniques, their narratives and their brilliance. An approachable handbook to the sonnets and the sonnet form, packed with reading tips and advice on the craft, this new edition offers an enjoyable and indispensable insight into our greatest Elizabethan writer by one of the leading poets of our own day.

Frequently Bought Together

Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets: A New Commentary + Shakespeare's Sonnets (Arden Shakespeare)
Buy the selected items together


Product details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; First Edition edition (4 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571245021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571245024
  • Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 334,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'What Paterson is really concerned with - and where the book soars above the competition - is how the poems work; how Shakespeare uses and abuses the sonnet form to achieve his effects.
Given that Paterson is one of the finest living poets working in the sonnet form, he brings to this a craftsman's insight and refreshing candour... The great merit of this book - and where it differs from so much academic literary criticism - is that, however eccentric it may occasionally be, it is never dull and frequently brilliant.' --Hugh Thomson, Independent

'An entertaining, exuberant and obsessively passionate guide . . . his measured and engaging essays display a deep and sophisticated understanding of every aspect of the poems ... Even the seasoned Shakespeare aficionado will come away knowing something new or aware of some subtle change of emphasis that might widen their enjoyment and experience of the sonnets ... The insights and opinions the book contains are fascinating... Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets is an impressive work and there is a lifetime of enjoyment to be had from this loquacious and erudite book.' --Adam O'Riordan, Sunday Telegraph

'Like all the best literary criticism, it combines highly sensitive attention to detail - the exact meaning of a word, the way in which a poetic image does its work, the tricks of metrical variation - with due awareness of historical context and specificity. It's also great fun.' --Jonathan Bate, Financial Times

'What we have is a splendidly energetic and thought-provoking exercise in close textual reading that is written in a prose style which veers wildly from the colloquium to the colloquial to the downright chatty ... this humanely priced volume does the one thing truly needful: it takes the fear out of reading Shakespeare.' --Irish Times

'Like all the best literary criticism, it combines highly sensitive attention to detail - the exact meaning of a word, the way in which a poetic image does its work, the tricks of metrical variation - with due awareness of historical context and specificity. It's also great fun.' --Jonathan Bate, Financial Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

'Paterson is simply one of the best living poets in the UK.' Jackie Kay, Observer

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Poet's View 4 Jan 2011
By Laertes
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For those unfamiliar with Shakespeare's sonnets, this is an easy-to-read, common-sensible introduction - a great place to start; but remember it is a personal view. If you are familiar with the text and with the usual lit. crit., you will find this idiosyncratic, fresh, and readable as a novel.
After he has said of Vendler's 'The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets', `Her book is a supreme example of the kind of book there should be more of', he adds, `I'm having my copy rubberised so I can catch it again after I've thrown it at the wall.' I feel exactly the same way about his book: there ought to be more like it and sometimes I want to throw it at the wall. If you love Shakespeare, this is a book to which you will not be indifferent.
I did not buy this book earlier because it was criticised for missing objectives that, I now know, Paterson did not have. Did the critics read the Introduction? There, Paterson sets out clearly his purpose. He distinguishes between `secondary reading' (more or less, serious literary criticism) and `primary reading' (more or less, responding directly to what a poem says). He gives as his aim, `to show [the sonnets] as poems still capable of inviting and rewarding the kind of primary reading I've described, and this is what this book sets out to do.' And his book does that superbly.
Paterson's great strength is in being a poet himself and saying, with some authority, things outside the normal range of critical comment, things like `[so-and-so] rather takes it all at face value - as do most other commentators, forgetting that poets often just tell folk what they think they want to hear, themselves included.' It's about time somebody said things like that. And he says many things like that in the book.
No faults? For me, only two irritations.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Commentary for Our Time 24 Nov 2010
Format:Hardcover
I learned about this book from an article Don Paterson wrote for The Guardian and his concept of approaching the sonnets as a modern reader appealed to me. In the article as in the book, Paterson's concludes that Shakespeare was gay, which must have touched a raw nerve as he drew a lot of negative comments. However, that did not put me off ordering the book and I am very much enjoying Paterson's down-to-earth and witty commentary on the sonnets. The only reason I gave the book four rather than five stars is that the editor failed to correct a lot of typos or at least I hope the errors I have found are typos. Presumably, they will be corrected before the paperback is published.
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Women Wrote Poetry Too 7 July 2014
Format:Paperback
Paterson is an obvious Stratfordian. He toes the party line and, as all Stratfordians, deliberately ignores the elephant in the room. We really need to unpack what he says, for instance, about 20. He begins by stating the blindingly obvious - that attitudes to homosexuality have changed. 400 hundred years ago it was a capital offence. Anybody expressing homoerotic feelings risked execution. But let us first look at what the Stratfordians actually claim about the Sonnets. They were written, they say, by William Shakspere, whom they choose to call Shakespeare, a glovers son, and therefore a commoner, from Stratford-upon-Avon, now more or less middle-aged. This man has fallen in love with the young Earl of Southampton, Henry Wriothesly and expresses his love in some of the most beautiful poetry ever written. Let's look a little closer. 30 (13) 'But if the while I think on thee, dear friend . . .'; 66 (24) 'Save that to die I leave my love alone.'; 104 (1)'To me, fair friend, thou never can be old . . .' At the time of the Sonnets people were careful about how they addressed their 'betters.' An ordinary person could be in serious trouble for not treating a member of the nobility with the accepted deference. It is inconceivable that a commoner would speak to an earl, in writing or otherwise, in such terms. On top of this there is absolutely no evidence that Shakespeare (Shakspere) and the Earl of Southampton ever met. Further, notice the use of 'thee' and 'thou.' These are the informal, intimate forms which one would use to a child or close relative. A noble might use 'thee' to an 'inferior;' never the other way round. Another thing - there is no evidence anywhere else that Shakespeare (or Shakspere) was homosexual. ' . . . Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, companionable book 23 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover
This is a complete gem - conversational, funny, wears its erudition lightly but still technical and scholarly when needed. Most importantly, has a practitioner's view of poetry, which really brings the sonnets alive. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forthright, informed and informal 26 Jan 2013
By R
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an educated and erudite book about William Shakespeare's famous love sonnets. Paterson, a distinguished poet himself, shows us in common language and with little pretence the art that Shakespeare employed in his vivid descriptions of his passions for a man and a woman. It's an essential aid to reaching the goal of a real understanding of the sonnets and to poetry more generally.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Views on the Sonnets 23 Mar 2011
By C. Hawkes TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A fan of Shakespeare's Sonnets for as long as I can remember reading, I, like Don Paterson, still do not know them as well as I'd like to think - and, like Don Paterson, have been caught out in a bluff or two in academic circles accordingly! Reading this book has helped me readjust my thinking as well as improving my knowledge.

This is an individualistic view of the Sonnets from an academic and a poet. Paterson has taken each of the 154 Sonnets in turn and written a Reaction Piece on each: not a critique as such, but an informed individual's response written in one sitting, effectively. The learning which has informed the reaction is always interesting, and if the style at times is a little too colloquial to make easy the transition between Shakespeare's verse (each Sonnet is printed before the response) and Don Paterson's prose, at least this reinforces the dialogue which Paterson is building between writer and reader. It also helps to break down the false reverence for "The Bard", something that can come between a real relationship with the work itself.

I also like the way that Paterson looks at the Sonnets as works of craft as well as of art: the poet pulling together complex emotions into a standard sonnet form, at times it seems hammering language and emotion into a shape that works.

I don't agree with a lot of what Paterson says (well, actually I agree with much, but it's the disagreements that stand out - for example his reaction to Sonnet 144!) but that only makes the text more engaging, and actually helped to sharpen up my own critical response. It's also spurred me to learn by heart more of the Sonnets, and (re)introduced me to some that I MUST have read but had no recollection of whatsoever!

Perhaps my final comment to show how good this book is: I lent it to a colleague two weeks ago, and she refuses to give it back!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Curate's Egg
Don Paterson admits that he wrote this book 'in a tearing hurry' and it certainly shows. Hopefully some of the many mistakes will be excised from future editions. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Elodie
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading Shakespeare's sonnets: A New Commentary.
This was, without a doubt, one of the most readable and insightful commentaries that I have ever encountered . Read more
Published 8 months ago by martyn holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars Understandable
This book appeals to me as the author gives not only his expertise on construction of and language used in the sonnets, but also gives his personal response to them. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Ruth
1.0 out of 5 stars Slipshod work by a writer with a cloth ear
I bought this to accompany a re-reading of the sonnets, but rapidly wished I hadn't. I became progressively irritated by Paterson's flip, badly expressed and arrogant judgements. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Gareth James
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly recommended companion to a great work
I suspect that like Moby Dick or Ulysses,Shakespeare's sonnets are more talked about than read - or if read at all not as a whole sequence with a complex story to tell. Read more
Published on 19 Aug 2012 by J. H. Bretts
1.0 out of 5 stars Total disappointment from Line 6
Now, wouldn't you think a poet, of all people(!) would be concerned about the importance of words, punctuation, grammar. Read more
Published on 19 July 2012 by S. S. Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book!
This is a wonderful book and will make you actually READ the Sonnets. It's engaging, funny, wise, and a real service to literature. Just what we needed! Read more
Published on 22 Jun 2012 by Dh Maitreyabandhu
4.0 out of 5 stars Scholarship meets Colloquial
Don Paterson is a lively and friendly -- funny even -- guide to the sonnets. It is clear, moreover, that he means it when he says he wrote the book in all kinds of states and... Read more
Published on 14 Mar 2012 by Stephen Sinclair
2.0 out of 5 stars At Best You will Chuckle, his unscholarly mess, At Worst it could Ruin...
Certainly his comments about The Sonnets may be illuminating for someone who has not a clue about how to unpack a conceit or decipher a metaphor, but he leaves almost no room for... Read more
Published on 14 Dec 2011 by Sky Smith
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback