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Shakespeare's Sonnets (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare) Paperback – 21 Aug 1997

4.8 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Arden Shakespeare; 3rd Revised edition edition (21 Aug. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903436575
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903436578
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.5 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 242,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
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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By Jon Chambers VINE VOICE on 5 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
In one of the most brilliant and revolutionary Arden3s to date, Katherine Duncan-Jones argues against scholarly consensus. For starters, she suggests that although first mentioned in 1598 (Francis Meres and the 'sugar'd sonnets') most of the 154 poems were not Elizabethan creations at all but 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 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.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
Shakespeare's sonnets are a work of genius. Shakespeare was, undoubtedly, a genius. But the sonnets are also amongst his greatest, most intriguing, works; ranking with his finest plays in interest and influence.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As much as I love reading Shakespeare's Sonnets, it can prove, not only informative to have them annotated but such detailed analysis can add another level or more to their intrinsic meaning. With this compilation one can read a Sonnet straight or, as in this annotated version, discover hidden depths of meaning within its historical context, supported with reference and examples to other writings by Shakespeare. I have enjoyed this volume greatly, the annotations and analysis, as mentioned above, have increased my knowledge and love for these writings, and I have found myself reading a new Sonnet daily.If you like reading Shakespeare's Sonnets or are new to them, this volume is well worth buying.
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