By Michael Schoenfeldt
This Companion represents the myriad methods of pondering the striking success of Shakespeare’s sonnets.
- An authoritative reference advisor and prolonged creation to Shakespeare’s sonnets.
- Contains greater than 20 newly-commissioned essays by means of either confirmed and more youthful scholars.
- Considers the shape, series, content material, literary context, modifying and printing of the sonnets.
- Shows how the sonnets offer a reflect during which cultures can learn their very own serious biases.
- Informed via the most recent theoretical, cultural and archival work.
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Additional resources for A Companion to Shakespeare's Sonnets
A telling comment on the couplet was made by Jan Kott in his introduction to Jerzy Sito’s edition of the Sonnets: “The closing couplet of each sonnet is addressed directly to the protagonist [by himself]. It is almost spoken. ” A theory of interpretation that is interested only in the paraphrasable “meaning” of a poem tends to find Shakespeare’s couplets uninteresting; but such a theory merely betrays its own inadequacy. It is more productive to look for what Shakespeare might have had in mind to make his couplets “work” than to assume that, because they “restate” semantically the body of the sonnet, they are superfluous.
There are as many ways of trying for the contradictory effects of art as there are artists. All of them aim at replacing the complexities of reality with controlled complexities that will make the experience of the orderly work of art sufficiently similar to the experience of random nature, so that the comfort of artistic coherence will not be immediately dismissed as irrelevant to the intellectual discomfort of the human condition. No work of art has ever been perfectly satisfactory. That is obvious.
The overtones would have been particularly strong for a reader accustomed to perfection in its common Renaissance meaning, “ripeness”: When I consider everything that grows Holds in perfection but a little moment Line 3 begins a new object clause, logically and syntactically parallel with the first. That parallelism helps the reader accept the new theatrical metaphor as an alternative means of simply restating the substance of the first clause. Moreover, the theatrical metaphor continues and reinforces the watcher–watched relationship established first in line 1 for the speaker and what he considers, and fully mirrored when line 4 introduces a new metaphor, the secretly influential stars, which are to the world-stage roughly as the powerless speaker was to the mortal world in line 1: That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows Whereon the stars in secret influence comment The tone of the quatrain is matter-of-fact as befits a declaration so simple and so obviously justified that it is a subordinate prologue to the statement proper.