Introduced by Katherine Duncan-Jones
Published here as they first appeared with the narrative poem 'A Lover's Complaint', Shakespeare's sonnets show his transcendent mastery of language, and more, they reveal intimate glimpses of the poet's mind.
'Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: O, no! It is an ever-fixèd mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken'
The plays of William Shakespeare remain the touchstone for all literature, but it is through his sonnets - published here as they first appeared with the narrative poem 'A Lover's Complaint' - that we gain the most telling glimpses into his own life. Many were kept private at the time of writing, and even now reading them gives a sense of intimate privilege. From the uncertainties which beset every wooer 'applying fears to hopes and hopes to fears' to a triumphant confidence in the power of love 'that looks on tempests and is never shaken', the poems span a vast range of emotions, and, while we may be fascinated by what they reveal about their writer, the sheer beauty of the language transcends all.
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Review by tomhumphreys on 24th Jan 2013
"An absolute 'must have' for all lovers of Shakespeare. This wonderful edition somehow manages to heighten the beauty of already perfect words within it."