Shakespeare's Sonnets (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare) Paperback – 21 Aug 1997
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Top Customer Reviews
By any account, this is an erudite, thoroughly researched and thoroughly readable edition with sonnet-by-sonnet annotations that don't assume undue expertise on the part of the reader. 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. (Duncan-Jones is the first to draw our attention to this detail.) Other numerical correspondences are more literary. The great central sequence (18-126) comprises 108 sonnets, thereby matching Sidney's collection.Read more ›
These are love poems - addressed to unnamed men and women, by a man - each containing no more than 14 lines. Reading them is, therefore, no big deal - anyone can manage 14 lines at a time, surely. Read them to a lover - read them to yourself - Shakespeare's sonnets will give you pleasure and food for thought for ever.
The language is highly wrought, and there is a lot of word play. But this edition presents the poems so that you can read them just as they are, on a single, clean page - or get help with the basic message by looking at a brief one paragraph explanation on the left hand page. Any difficult or obsolete word use, likewise, can quickly be cleared up by looking at clear definitions and explanations on the left hand page. But whether you look at the left hand page is up to you; the scholarship is available, but completely unobtrusive.
This is the best edition of a well-loved work. It combines ease of reading with outstanding scholarship, presented simply and without fuss, which you can take or leave as you please, in whole or in part. You can read the poem. Or read the poem with help. Or dig deeper in the poem by spending longer on the left-hand page with its background scholarship. It is wonderful to have this choice.
The introduction is, also, highly readable and interesting.
In summary - Shakespeare's sonnets are highly recommended, and this edition is recommended as the best of all.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The perfect size and the look of the book, its simplicity makes it really really beautiful. Definitely recommended.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I bought this as I wanted to understand what each sonnet meant as the language can be a bit convoluted. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mrs Josephine Gibson
I have always wanted to read the sonnets and now on Kindle it is easy to sit back and enjoy.Published 3 months ago by J. M. Hall
I was hoping for the book with the cursive script, but otherwise this was good.Published 3 months ago by Mrs. Shirley M
the pages were written in pencil in many pages and the book was manhandled the cover was very markedPublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
I keep this by my bed, which is a bit silly, as the sonnets are profound as well as beautiful, so they occupy the mind rather too much at bedtime.Published 10 months ago by mirobola