The Cambridge Introduction to Shakespeare's Poetry

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Shakespeare's poems were enormously popular in his lifetime, but, aside from the enduring appeal of the Sonnets, are today much less familiar than his plays. This Introduction celebrates the achievement of Shakespeare as a poet, providing students with ways of understanding, appreciating, and enjoying his highly wrought poems. It honors the aesthetic and intellectual complexity of the poems without making them seem unapproachably complicated, and outlines their pleasures and challenges.

Covers all of Shakespeare's non-dramatic poetry, rather than focusing exclusively on the Sonnets, and explores Shakespeare's developing verbal prowess

Introduces students to the many approaches and contexts for reading Shakespeare's poetry, and presents exemplary readings of individual poems

Addresses the controversies surrounding Shakespearean authoriship, including the claim that the works of William Shakespeare were not written by him, and the frequent rediscovery of "new" poems by Shakespeare.

This series is designed to introduce students to key topics and authors. Accessible and lively, these introductions will also appeal to readers who want to broaden their understanding of the books and authors they enjoy.

Ideal for students, teachers, and lecturers

Concise, yet packed with essential information

Key suggestions for further reading

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Schoenfeldt's volume has all the merits of a first-rate lecture series. It provides the facts, engages judiciously with current scholarship, and models exacting readings of target texts."
—Recent Studies of the English Renaissance
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521705073
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/7/2010
  • Series: Cambridge Introductions to Literature Series
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,489,788
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Schoenfeldt is Professor of English at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England: Physiology and Inwardness in Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert, and Milton and Prayer and Power: George Herbert and Renaissance Courtship, and he has contributed to publications including A Companion to Shakespeare's Sonnets and Imagining Death in Shakespeare and Milton.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Chapter 1 Shakespeare and English poetry 1

Versification and meter 4

Shakespeare and early modern poetry 11

Chapter 2 Shakespeare's banquet of sense: Venus and Adonis 19

Carnal and verbal pleasure 21

Wordplay and foreplay 24

Love and lust 31

The death of Adonis and the birth of erotic unhappiness 34

Chapter 3 Constraint and complaint in Lucrece 38

Tarquin and predatory lust 40

Lucrece: resistance and complaint 46

Founding the Roman republic 54

Chapter 4 Mysteries of the Sonnets: Dedication, publication, sequence, characters 57

Publication and dedication 57

The temptations of autobiography and sequence 60

Characters and reception 64

Chapter 5 Time and mortality in the Sonnets 69

Time and progeny 69

Time and poetry 76

Time and love 82

Time and the afterlife 84

Chapter 6 Friendship and love, darkness and lust: Desire in the Sonnets 88

The master-mistress: Sonnet 20 90

The marriage of true minds: Sonnet 116 92

Olympian restraint: Sonnet 94 96

The Dark Lady 98

Love and appetite 103

Love and disease 105

Chapter 7 Solitary and mutual flames: A Lover's Complaint and "The Phoenix and Turtle" 112

A Lover's Complaint 113

"The Phoenix and Turtle" 122

Chapter 8 Fantasies of Shakespearean authorship 130

The Passionate Pilgrim 132

John Benson, editor 134

Occasional verse 135

Passionate pilgrims: "Shall I die? And the Funeral Elegy 140

Notes 144

Further reading 152

Index 157

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