William Shakespeare Sonnets
WHAT ARE SONNETS?
- Sonnets are fourteen-line lyrical poems
- This form of poetry originated in Italy
- They were introduced to England during the Tudor era by Sir Thomas Wyatt
THE AUTHORSHIP OF THE SONNETS
- There is no documented evidence recording of when the sonnets were all written
- Therefore there is some doubt as to their true authorship!
- It is, however, certain that Shakespeare had written some of the sonnets as in 1598 a certain Francis Meres made reference to Shakespeare as "his sugared sonnets among his private friends."
- Meres appears to be criticising Shakespeare for fawning to his potential patrons
THE THEMES OF THE SONNETS
THE PUBLICATION OF THE SONNETS BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
- The themes of the Sonnets are about love
- They appear to be dedicated to a handsome boy and a rival poet together with a mysterious and aloof "dark" lady that they both love
- The sonnets are numbered and fall into three categories:
- Sonnets 1 to 126 are addressed to or concern a young man
- Sonnets 127-152 are addressed to or concern a dark lady
- Sonnets 153-154 are free adaptations of two classical Greek poems
- The Sonnets can be accessed in full by clicking the following link:
- His collection of Sonnets were published in a book called "a Booke called Shakespeare's sonnettes".
- The Sonnets appeared, without Shakespeare's permission, in 1609
- The 1609 quarto, entitled Shakespeares Sonnets, was published by Thomas Thorpe on May 20, 1609
- Thomas Thorpe was granted a license to publish "a Booke called Shakespeare's sonnettes" and this entry is in the Stationer's Register
- Thorpe appeared to be 'cashing-in' on Shakespeare's name!
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