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This "Companion" represents the myriad methods of pondering the notable success of Shakespeare's sonnets. An authoritative reference consultant and prolonged creation to Shakespeare's sonnets. includes greater than 20 newly-commissioned essays through either demonstrated and more youthful students. Considers the shape, series, content material, literary context, modifying and printing of the sonnets. indicates how the sonnets offer a reflect within which cultures can learn their very own severe biases. trained via the most recent theoretical, cultural and archival paintings.

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Additional resources for A Companion to Shakespeare's Sonnets

Example text

Instead, I will take one sonnet, number 15, and use it to make a summary demonstration of the kinds and interactions of patterns in Shakespeare’s sonnets generally: When I consider everything that grows Holds in perfection but a little moment, That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows The Value of the Sonnets 19 Whereon the stars in secret influence comment; When I perceive that men as plants increase, Cheered and checked even by the selfsame sky, Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease, And wear their brave state out of memory: Then the conceit of this inconstant stay Sets you most rich in youth before my sight, Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay To change your day of youth to sullied night; And, all in war with Time for love of you, As he takes from you, I ingraft you new.

Though the sharing of the speaker by the young man and the lady, and the sharing of the young man by the lady and the rival poet, could in other hands become the material of farce, the “plot” is treated by Shakespeare elegiacally, sardonically, ironically, and tragically, making the Sonnets a repository of relationships and moods wholly without peer in the sonnet tradition. However, thematic originality alone never yet made a memorable artwork. Nor did psychological depth – though that is at least a prerequisite for lyric profundity.

The “meaning” carried by such a turn to the consensus gentium is that the speaker has run out, absolutely, of things to say from his own heart. He has to turn to old saws to console himself in his rejection, and to warn the young man that no good can come of his infidelities. It might be thought that the couplet is the likeliest place for proverbial expression. Yet, knowing that the proverbial implies that the speaker “gives up” on the conundrum as insoluble, we are glad to see the displacement upward of proverbial closure into the body of the poem.

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