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Shakespeare's Sonnets (Poets for Pleasure) [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

William Shakespeare , Simon Callow
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 Mar 1995 185998214X 978-1859982143
One of a series of double-cassette audio packs, containing readings of great poetry by contemporary actors and actresses. Each pack includes the printed text of each work, with background information on the poets. The poems on these cassettes are by Shakespeare, and are read by Simon Callow.

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Audio Books (16 Mar 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185998214X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859982143
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 10.6 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,804,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant collection 7 July 2003
This book is a must for anybody interested in sonnets and Shakespeare. You can pick this book up when you've got five minutes to spare and just read a couple of the sonnets. The book offers guidance for readers by providing notes and a commentary to each sonnet on the same page as the text. This makes the sonnets much more accessible for those of us who need a bit of help interpreting their meanings. It also indicates common links that exist between the different sonnets and refers to links between Shakespeare's sonnets and plays. The collection also includes a detailed (if not heavy) introduction that discusses the different context of Shakespeare's works. I would strongly advise any body (particularly students of English) to purchase this collection. However, it isn't just a collection for those who wish to study Shakespeare but I've found it a most enjoyable read.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant edition 6 July 2006
Katherine Duncan-Jones provides very detailed and thorough notes for the sonnets, making your reading of them so much richer and more rewarding. I have discovered so much about Shakespeare himself and about the times in which he lived while reading all the annotated sonnets, it has been a fascinating discovery. There is also a very clear, and interesting introduction covering aspects such as authorship of the sonnets and themes. If you're serious about Shakespeare or just need clarification of the meaning of the sonnets, this book will do it beautifully.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of sugar and spice 19 Aug 2008
By Jon Chambers VINE VOICE
Arden's third series illuminates the continually-shifting priorities of the moment as well as the Shakespearean texts themselves. Katherine Duncan-Jones devotes less space to such arcane matters as the practices of the Jacobean printing house and relatively more to what we now consider to be all-important: the sonnets, their meaning and literary significance. She considers that although some sonnets were obviously written before Meres's first mention of them in 1598 ('sugred Sonnets among his private friends') most were the products of the mature, Jacobean Shakespeare - hence their often knotty complexity and their relatively bitter, 'salty' tone. It is an unconventional view, like many others in this radically different edition.

By any account, this is an erudite, thoroughly researched and thoroughly readable edition with sonnet-by-sonnet annotations that don't assume undue expertise. Unlike previous Arden editions, therefore, this third series issue is ideal for readers wanting an in-depth and accessible analysis of poems that have long had the reputation of being difficult ('laboured perplexities', in the words of the C18 Shakespeare scholar, George Steevens).

Duncan-Jones is herself often highly ingenious. Certain sonnets she considers numerologically significant. She detects a 'strongly misogynistic bias' throughout the sequence. Even those sonnets addressed to a female (ie 127-54) arouse her suspicions that the speaker has a male audience in mind as he exhibits a strong distaste for the female form generally and for 'the negative connotations of menstruation' in particular. These suspicions are strengthened on realising that the total number of these 'Dark Lady' sonnets is 28 - one for each day of the lunar cycle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
These sonnets have mesmerized me for longer than I care to remember. I don't think Shakespeare was exactly a master among rhymers, but he certainly was a master of the iambic pentameter. The Shakespearean sonnet has a pleasingly smooth musicality, and that gliding pleasantness attained its full potential in the Shakespearean sonnets penned by none other than Shakespeare himself.

How delightfully enigmatic yet, permitting time-instituted obscurity, accessible they actually are. The "Sonnets" are famously slippery; their possible readings seem inexhaustible even after all these years of scholarship, a single word or punctuation having generated assiduous debates. But this is exactly why there is something here for everyone - truly the work, if not the only, of Shakespeare that merits the bard's laureate adoration. Shakespeare consummately deployed the figures of rhetoric and well-worn Petrarchian love language and conceits which have undone by decorousness and hence sterility many another Renaissance poet. Love sonnets may seem as banal as poetry could get. Notwithstanding here it feels consistently original, even though most of the individual sonnets' import, if not the sequence as a whole, is not at all.

I wouldn't try to give a reading of the sequence - that has been amply done by more erudite individuals than I. It is difficult to state what I have gleaned from reading it but certainly something among my thinkings has been developed through them, which is exactly what reading great books ought to do to you.

The incomparable Arden edition never disappoints. The notes printed alongside the texts are illuminating and convenient to gloss, readily alerting one to some of the variant readings.
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