A Companion to Shakespeare's Sonnets / Edition 1

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This Companion represents the myriad ways of thinking about the remarkable achievement of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

  • An authoritative reference guide and extended introduction to Shakespeare’s sonnets.
  • Contains more than 20 newly-commissioned essays by both established and younger scholars.
  • Considers the form, sequence, content, literary context, editing and printing of the sonnets.
  • Shows how the sonnets provide a mirror in which cultures can read their own critical biases.
  • Informed by the latest theoretical, cultural and archival work.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Of making many reference books about Shakespeare there is no end, and Blackwell, a leader in the field of reference books on literature and other topics, has produced a large and expensive Companion to Shakespeare's Sonnets" (Chronique)

"This title provides a solid introduction to key concepts and ways of studying the work of an author who whose reputation is so great it is often difficult for readers new to the works to know where to begin.... The quality of all the essays is very high." (Reference Reviews, Issue 4 2008)

"Michael Schoenfeldt's compilation of twenty-five critical essays takes into account the most important issues concerning Shakespeare's sonnets: historical, interpretive, biographical, and editorial ... Several familiar themes in Sonnet criticism get fresh readings here … it is obviously impossible to do justice here to all of the essays ... it is a valuable [guide] to the current state of criticism and scholarship." (Renaissance Quarterly)

"This is generally an excellently structured collection of essays." (Notes and Queries)

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Michael Schoenfeldt is Professor of English Literature at the University of Michigan and Director of the Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies. He is the author of Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England: Physiology and Inwardness in Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert, and Milton (1999), Prayer and Power: George Herbert and Renaissance Courtship (1991), and co-editor of Imagining Death in Spenser and Milton (2003).

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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors viii

Acknowledgments xii

Introduction 1

PART I Sonnet Form and Sonnet Sequence 13

1 The Value of the Sonnets 15
Stephen Booth

2 Formal Pleasure in the Sonnets 27
Helen Vendler

3 The Incomplete Narrative of Shakespeare’s Sonnets 45
James Schiffer

4 Revolution in Shake-speares Sonnets 57
Margreta de Grazia

PART II Shakespeare and His Predecessors 71

5 The Refusal to be Judged in Petrarch and Shakespeare 73
Richard Strier

6 “Dressing old words new”? Re-evaluating the “Delian Structure” 90
Heather Dubrow

7 Confounded by Winter: Speeding Time in Shakespeare’s Sonnets 104
Dympna Callaghan

PART III Editorial Theory and Biographical Inquiry: Editing the Sonnets 119

8 Shake-speares Sonnets, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and Shakespearean Biography 121
Richard Dutton

9 Mr. Who He? 137
Stephen Orgel

10 Editing the Sonnets 145
Colin Burrow

11 William Empson and the Sonnets 163
Lars Engle

PART IV The Sonnets in Manuscript and Print 183

12 Shakespeare’s Sonnets and the Manuscript Circulation of Texts in Early Modern England 185
Arthur F. Marotti

13 The Sonnets and Book History 204
Marcy L. North

PART V Models of Desire in the Sonnets 223

14 Shakespeare’s Love Objects 225
Douglas Trevor

15 Tender Distance: Latinity and Desire in Shakespeare’s Sonnets 242
Bradin Cormack

16 Fickle Glass 261
Rayna Kalas

17 “Th’ expense of spirit in a waste of shame”: Mapping the “Emotional Regime” of Shakespeare’s Sonnets 277
Jyotsna G. Singh

PART VI Ideas of Darkness in the Sonnets 291

18 Rethinking Shakespeare’s Dark Lady 293
Ilona Bell

19 Flesh Colors and Shakespeare’s Sonnets 314
Elizabeth D. Harvey

PART VII Memory and Repetition in the Sonnets 329

20 Voicing the Young Man: Memory, Forgetting, and Subjectivity in the Procreation Sonnets 331
Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr.

21 “Full character’d”: Competing Forms of Memory in Shakespeare’s Sonnets 343
Amanda Watson

PART VIII The Sonnets in/and the Plays 361

22 Halting Sonnets: Poetry and Theater in Much Ado About Nothing 363
Patrick Cheney

23 Personal Identity and Vicarious Experience in Shakespeare’s Sonnets 383
William Flesch

PART IX The Sonnets and A Lover’s Complaint 403

24 “Making the quadrangle round”: Alchemy’s Protean Forms in Shakespeare’s sonnets and A Lover’s Complaint 405
Margaret Healy

25 The Enigma of A Lover’s Complaint 426
Catherine Bates

Appendix: The 1609 Text of Shakespeare’s Sonnets and A Lover’s Complaint 441

Index 502

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