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Shakespeare's Sonnets Among His Private Friends (Hardcover)
Intended for all readers, an exciting, innovative approach to Shakespeare's Sonnets.
"His sugared Sonnets among his private friends." That's how Shakespeare's Sonnets were described in the only contemporary reference to them. This brings up the image of a talented, young poet-with a penchant for irreverent fun-getting together with friends to read his new sonnet cycle. Numerous sonnet cycles were published that typically told the story of thwarted love. The same topics are repeated: a chaste and beautiful lady, a love-sick poet dreaming only of his beloved, sunk into despair by her cruelty (cruel only because she decides to remain chaste). Shakespeare's Sonnets are like this, but with a twist-adding a love triangle that turning convention upside down. Working out all the possibilities of this intriguing story as the sonnets progress is all part of the fun.
Atkins invites you to imagine that you are among the friends our poet has allowed to see his new sonnets. You'll read the poems and the discussion of each one, as we try to figure out the story. See what it might have been like to read Shakespeare's Sonnets "among his private friends."
With glosses of difficult words and phrases and an explanation of each poem, this book is as carefully edited as the acclaimed variorum edition published by Atkins in 2007, Shakespeare's Sonnets: With Three Hundred Years of Commentary. It has the same sensitive readings of verse that made his variorum unique. (Atkins has made a complete metrical analysis of all 154 poems, which serves as an excellent companion to Shakespeare's Sonnets Among His Private Friends. It is available free at amonghisprivatefriends.com.) Also unique to this edition is a look at how the last 28 sonnets about a "dark lady" may have been influenced by Christopher Marlowe's English translation of Ovid's erotic poems, Amores (Book 1 of which is included in an appendix).