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Shakespeare's Sonnets (Arden Shakespeare: Third Series) [Paperback]

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Item description for Shakespeare's Sonnets (Arden Shakespeare: Third Series) by Katherine Duncan-Jones William Shakespeare...

'The annotation is consistently thoughtful and well judged, giving plenty of precise help with lexical and syntactical problems, and offering valuable verbal and cultural analogues from contemporary literature' 'No edition of these difficult and controversial poems will command agreement at all points, but this must now be the edition of first resort' Paul Hammond, Review of English Studies 'sharpens our focus on the documentary record of the Sonnets, and gives the best scholarly account yet of some of its words.' Alastair Fowler, Times Literary Supplement "The new edition...edited by Katherine Duncan-Jones, is the clearest, most complete and up-to-date there is. She is the first editor for general readers not to mumble when dealing with the homoerotic aspect. Under her meticulous direction, the sequence opens out like a magical garden, its beauties enhanced, its mysterious prospects illuminated." Duncan Fallowell, The Independent 'It is Duncan-Jones's intention as scholar and critic to confront the issue of sexuality which Kerrigan and other editors have consistently side-stepped...Hers is an edition which uniquely makes the Sonnets issue from the body's moods as well as the mind's.' Tom Paulin, London Review of Books 'This new edition, handsome, crisp in annotation, and rich in historical detail, shows that the Sonnets are effectively Shakespeare's life's work...Its most radical claim is not the familiar one that the poems are homosexual, but that Shakespeare authorised their publication.' Evening Standard

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Item Specifications...

Pages   504
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.6" Width: 5" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 21, 1997
Publisher   Arden
ISBN  1903436575  
ISBN13  9781903436578  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > English > British Literature
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( S ) > Shakespeare, William > Shakespeare, William
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( S ) > Shakespeare, William > Paperback
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Drama > Playwrights, A-Z > ( S ) > Shakespeare, William
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > General
7Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Poets, A-Z > ( S ) > Shakespeare, William
8Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Single Authors > British & Irish
9Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > British > Shakespeare
10Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > History & Criticism > Literary Theory

Reviews - What do customers think about Shakespeare's Sonnets (Arden Shakespeare: Third Series)?

Shakespeare,s dedicatee " unmasked"  Jul 3, 2007
Katherine Duncan-Jones in the Arden Shakespeare's Sonnets is closer to Stephen Booth's linguistic approach from Helen Vendler,s artistic analysis of the Sonnets. I think she made a mature choice because Old Will in his love lyrics is ambigous and misleading.His words are loaded with meanings and accordingly are open to more than one interpretation.Publishing the detailed notes and commentry on the same page looks more practical and helpful, not only for the students but also for the general reader.Nevertheless, Hank Wittemore's version of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, recently published for the first time , emphasizes that the dedicatee of Shakespeare,s Sonnets is Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton and not William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke as the Arden,s editor of the Sonnets suggests in her introduction. Since 400 years the dedicatee,s identity had been masked. A.L. Rowse in 1964 published his version of the Sonnets and held that Shakespeare dedicated his poems to his close friend and patron Earl of Southampton. Now Wriothesley proved what Rowse had cocluded in his literary and historical researching half a century ago.
In the next edition of the Arden,s Sonnets I hope Katherine Duncan-Jones sheds more illuminating light on this issue which puzzled many Shakespearians for a very long time.

Abdulsattar Jawad
Duke University
The Introduction is worth the price of the book, ten times the price  Feb 6, 2007
Ms. Duncan-Jones' Introduction is an extraordinary example of scholarship. To say that the Sonnets have been controversial throughout the time since their publication is a mild understatement. Ms. Duncan-Jones casts a brilliant and unwavering spotlight on these controversies and resolves them.

Any serious student of Shakespeare must read this Introduction.

If there is a failing in the book, it is in the actual footnotes to the Sonnets themselves. But in the context of Booth's footnotes, for example, this failing is insignificant. Anyone who wants a line-by-line exegesis of the Sonnets has many resources available.

Go get this book and read the Introduction!
Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage  Jan 31, 2007
Thy merit hath my duty strongly knit,
To thee I send this written embassage,
To witness duty, not to show my wit.
(Sonnet 26.)

How to do justice to the legacy of literary history's greatest mind -- moreover in such a limited review? Forget Goethe's "universal genius" and his rebel contemporary Schiller; forget the 19th century masters; forget contemporary literature: with the possible (!) exception of three Greek gentlemen named Aischylos, Sophocles and Euripides, a certain Frenchman called Poquelin (a/k/a Moliere), and that infamous Irishman Oscar Wilde, there's more wit in a single line of Shakespeare's than in an entire page of most other, even great, authors' works. And I'm not saying this in ignorance of, or in order to slight any other writer: it's precisely my admiration of the world's literary giants, past and present, that makes me appreciate Shakespeare even more -- and that although I'm aware that he repeatedly borrowed from pre-existing material and that even the (sole) authorship of the works published under his name isn't established beyond doubt. For ultimately, the only thing that matters to me is the brilliance of those works themselves; and quite honestly, the mysteries continuing to enshroud his person, to me, only enhance his larger-than-life stature.

The precise dating of Shakespeare's sonnets -- like other poets', a response to the 1591 publication of Sir Philip Sidney's "Astrophil and Stella" -- is an even greater guessing game than that of his plays: although #138 and #144 (slightly modified) appeared in 1599's "Passionate Pilgrim," most were probably circulated privately, and written years before their first -- unauthorized, though still authoritative -- 1609 publication; possibly beginning in 1592-1593.

Format-wise, they adopt the Elizabethan fourteen-line-structure of three quatrains of iambic pentameters expressing a series of increasingly intense ideas, resolved in a closing couplet; with an abab-cdcd-efef-gg rhyme form. (Sole exceptions: #99 -- first quatrain amplified by one line -- #126 -- six couplets & only twelve lines total -- #145 -- written in tetrameter -- and #146 -- omission of the second line's beginning; the subject of a lasting debate.) Their order is thematic rather than chronological, although beyond the fact that the first 126 are addressed to a young man -- maybe the Earl of Pembroke or Southampton, maybe Sir Robert Dudley, the natural son of Queen Elizabeth's "Sweet Robin," the Earl of Leicester -- (the first seventeen, possibly commissioned by the addressee's family, pressing his marriage and production of an heir), and ##127-152 (or 127-133 and 147-152) to an exotic woman of questionable virtues only known as "The Dark Lady," even in that respect much remains unclear; including the nature of Shakespeare's relationship with the two main addressees, regarding which the sonnets' often ambiguous metaphors invoke much speculation. #145 is probably addressed to Shakespeare's wife; the closing couplet plays on her maiden name ("['I hate' from] hate away she threw And saved my life, [saying 'not you']:" "Hathaway -- Anne saved my life"), several others contain puns on the name Will and its double meaning(s) (exactly fourteen in the naughty #135: "Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will;" and seven in the similarly mischievous #136), and the last two draw on the then-popular Cupid theme. Sometimes, placement seems linked to contents, e.g., in #8 (music: an octave has eight notes), #12 and #60 (time: twelve hours to both day and night; sixty minutes to an hour); and in the famous #55, which praises poetry's everlasting power and as whose never-expressly-named subject Shakespeare himself emerges in a comparison with Horace's Ode 3.30 -- in turn written in first person singular and thus, denoting its own author as the builder of its "monument more lasting than bronze" ("Exegi monumentum aere perennius") -- as well as through the number "5"'s optical similarity to the letter "S," making the sonnet's number a shorthand reference for "5hake5peare" or "5hakespeare's 5onnets," echoed by numerous words containing an "S" in the text.

Of indescribable linguistic beauty, elegance and complexity, Shakespeare's sonnets owe their timeless appeal to their supreme compositional values, the universality of their themes, and their keen insights into the human heart and soul; as much as their transcendence of the era's poetic conventions which, following Petrarch, heavily idealized the addressee's qualities: a form new and exciting twohundred years earlier, but encrusted in cliche in the late 1500s. Indeed, Shakespeare's "Dark Lady" Sonnet #130 owes its particular fame to its clever puns on that very style, which went overboard with references to its golden-haired, starry- (beamy-, sparkling, sunny-) eyed, cherry- (strawberry-, vermilion-, coral-) lipped, rosy- (crimson-, purple-, dawn-) cheeked, ivory- (lily-, carnation-, crystal-, silver-, snowy-, swan-white) skinned, pearl-teethed, honey- (nectar-, music-) tongued, goddess-like objects. "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;" the Bard countered, proceeded to describe her breasts as "dun," her hair as "black wires," and her breath as "reek[ing]," and denied her any divine or angelic attributes. "And yet," he concluded: "by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare."

Arguably, Shakespeare's very choice of addressees (a young man -- also the subject of the famously romantic #18: "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day;" the first of several sonnets promising his immortalization in poetry -- as well as the "Dark Lady," in turn introduced under the notion "black is beautiful" in #127) itself suggests a break with tradition; and compared to his contemporaries' poetry, even the equally-famous #116's on its face rather conventional praise of love's constancy ("Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments"), echoed in the poet's vow to vanquish time in #123, sounds fairly restrained. But ultimately, Shakespeare's sonnets -- like his entire work -- simply defy categorization. They are, as rival Ben Jonson acknowledged, written "for all time," just as the Bard himself immodestly claimed:

'Gainst death and all oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
(Sonnet 55.)

Also recommended:
The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works 2nd Edition
Shakespeare: For All Time (Oxford Shakespeare)
Much Ado About Nothing
Love's Labour's Lost
William Shakespeare's Hamlet (Two-Disc Special Edition)
BBC Shakespeare Comedies DVD Giftbox
BBC Shakespeare Tragedies DVD Giftbox
Olivier's Shakespeare - Criterion Collection (Hamlet / Henry V / Richard III)
William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice
Twelfth Night
Excellent edition  May 27, 2006
I recently used the Arden edition of the Sonnets in a graduate level course on Renaissance literature. It's useful, too, to have Helen Vendler's "Art of the Sonnet," as well as the Penguin edition (fewer notes than the Arden). Quite simply, the Arden excels in the scholarly apparatus. Also, for a concise, readable supplement, include Greenblatt's "Will in the World" (the chapter on the sonnets). But for a close study of the sonnets, if you need a single edition, Arden is terrific.
Ardens are Fantastic  Sep 12, 2005
The secondary source material found in the appendices, the fantastic footnotes, the capacioius introductions, the big clear typeface, the textual editing decisions, all make the Ardens the best single-volume Shakespeares by a long shot. The rest pale by comparison.

The only drawback, god forgive this y-chromosomed curmudgeon, that I can see in this particular Arden is that the editor, Katherine Duncan-Jones, often tends to lean a bit too far to the left, indulging into too much gender politic-ing.

Duncan-Jones also spends a quite a bit of time arguing in a rather extended manner for composition dates that are self-consciously 'provocative' and seem to be much too speculative for an introduction.

One could match this with Booth's version, which by comparison seems perhaps a touch more shallow and hidebound-- but more solid, and get a nice complimentary set of typefaces and editorial views that would balance out nicely, I would suspect.

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