Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets : An Original-spelling Text


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This book is at once an edition of Shakespeare's Sonnets and a guide to how to read these exquisite and complex poems, and is designed both for readers new to the poems and for those who are familiar with the Sonnets but are ready to engage with them afresh. It provides an original-spelling text of the poems: that is, it prints the poems as they appeared in the first edition, Shake-speares Sonnets (1609), preserving the spelling, punctuation, italics, and capitalization of the original, with only minor interventions where that edition manifestly needs correction. The advantages (and occasional hazards) of reading an original-spelling text are explained, and detailed help is provided in order to assist readers who may be unfamiliar with the conventions of early-modern spelling and punctuation. The introduction focuses on how we might read the poetry, discussing the sonnet form, the tradition within which Shakespeare was writing, and the ways in which readers might explore the richly suggestive language which he used. The forms of sexuality evoked in the Sonnets are fully charted, both in the introduction and the notes, but readers are steered away from biographical speculation. The annotation which accompanies the text of the poems provides detailed and carefully-targeted glosses which set out the likely meanings of the words in order to help the reader construct their own understanding of the poem. The text is followed by appendices on Shakespeare's rhetoric and complex words which will enable the modern reader to appreciate the intricate verbal play of the poetry.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 512 pages
  • 148 x 218 x 48mm | 762.03g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Six black-and-white halftones
  • 0199642079
  • 9780199642076
  • 1,036,283

Review quote

In Shakespeare's Sonnets, Paul Hammond attends carefull to the linguistic rather than the biographical texture of the relationships in the poem ... The erudition and insight of Paul Hammond's edition ... will leave many readers grateful to have in their hands many of the things they might wish to have said about the Sonnets, and will also open up new avenues of interpretation. Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, Times Literary Supplement This handsome volume offers readers a thorough examination of William Shakespeare's sonnets as original-spelling texts ... [It] will serve as a valuable pedagogical tool for those wishing to pursue more in-depth studies of Shakespeare. A.P. Pennino, Choice insightful, pleasant to read, and useful. Paul Edmondson, Around the Globe

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About Professor of Seventeenth-Century English Literature Paul Hammond

Paul Hammond was educated at Peter Symonds' School, Winchester, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a Prize Fellow from 1978-82. He subsequently taught at the University of Leeds, where he has been Professor of Seventeenth-Century English Literature since 1996. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2002. His books include Restoration Literature: An Anthology (OUP, 2002), Figuring Sex between Men from Shakespeare to Rochester (OUP, 2002, co-edited with Andrew Hadfield), Shakespeare and Renaissance Europe (The Arden Shakespeare, 2005, co-edited with David Hopkins), Dryden: Selected Poems, (Longman, 2006), The Strangeness of Tragedy (OUP, 2009), and John Milton: Life, Writings, Reputation (OUP for the British Academy, 2010, co-edited with Blair Worden).

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Table of contents


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