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Shakespeare's Sonnets (Yale Nota Bene) Paperback – July 11, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Yale Nota Bene
  • Paperback: 616 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; Yale Nota Bene edition (July 11, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300085060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300085068
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stephen Booth is at the University of California, Berkeley.

More About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564, and his birth is traditionally celebrated on April 23. The facts of his life, known from surviving documents, are sparse. He was one of eight children born to John Shakespeare, a merchant of some standing in his community. William probably went to the King's New School in Stratford, but he had no university education. In November 1582, at the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior, who was pregnant with their first child, Susanna. She was born on May 26, 1583. Twins, a boy, Hamnet ( who would die at age eleven), and a girl, Judith, were born in 1585. By 1592 Shakespeare had gone to London working as an actor and already known as a playwright. A rival dramatist, Robert Greene, referred to him as "an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers." Shakespeare became a principal shareholder and playwright of the successful acting troupe, the Lord Chamberlain's Men (later under James I, called the King's Men). In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain's Men built and occupied the Globe Theater in Southwark near the Thames River. Here many of Shakespeare's plays were performed by the most famous actors of his time, including Richard Burbage, Will Kempe, and Robert Armin. In addition to his 37 plays, Shakespeare had a hand in others, including Sir Thomas More and The Two Noble Kinsmen, and he wrote poems, including Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. His 154 sonnets were published, probably without his authorization, in 1609. In 1611 or 1612 he gave up his lodgings in London and devoted more and more time to retirement in Stratford, though he continued writing such plays as The Tempest and Henry VII until about 1613. He died on April 23 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. No collected edition of his plays was published during his life-time, but in 1623 two members of his acting company, John Heminges and Henry Condell, put together the great collection now called the First Folio.

Customer Reviews

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134 pages of sonnets - 583 page book!
A.K.Farrar
Seeing the texts exactly as they were presented to Shakespeare's contemporaries is an interesting experience.
tepi
This is an amazing book - excellent for the student of Shakespeare.
Bethanie Frank

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 69 people found the following review helpful By tepi on June 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS. Edited with analytic commentary by Stephen Booth. 583 pp. (Yale Nota Bene). New Haven & London : Yale University Press, 2000 (1977). ISBN 0-300-08506-0 (pbk.)
Shakespeare's 'Sonnets' is a deservedly well-loved body of poetry, and there have been innumerable editions. For the enthusiast and student, however, it's doubtful that there could be a better edition than that of Stephen Booth. Originally published in a bulky (and expensive) clothbound edition in 1977, it has now been reissued as a fat though fairly compact paperback that will put it within reach of a much wider audience.
One reason that Elizabethan lyrics are so powerful and memorable, is that they were composed in an age when poetry was still linked closely with music. Elizabethans were often competent musicians, and many of their poems were true lyrics or songs. Often their poems were set to music, and all were probably composed while the gentle plucking of a lute or some such instrument was running somewhere through the back of the poet's mind.
Today we live in an age when composers are no longer giving us real songs, songs that stay in the mind and that can be hummed or sung when for some reason or other they rise into consciousness; songs that are always there when we feel like singing, and that can help cheer us up, make us happy, and refresh our spirit; songs, too, for both light and more thoughtful moods.
In contrast to this true type of song, what we seem to be getting today is little more than words with little or no meaning accompanied by noise, the sort of stuff that a machine could write and probably is writing, and profoundly unmemorable.
Shakespeare's 'Sonnets,' however, bring us a world of meaning.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By richardpinneau.com on November 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
Professor Booth's unsurpassed edition of the immortal Sonnets has an exhaustive consideration of all the issues that can perplex a reader, but it may proving daunting to beginning students. Undergraduate students may wish to begin with Katherine Duncan-Jones edition from Routledge (The Arden Shakespeare) or Burrows edition from Oxford. Advanced students in Shakespeare or English literature who intend to continue mining this ore over the years will find Booth's edition a precious resource for their library.
Rather than repeat the fine points in other reviews, allow me just to caution the reader about the change in the publisher's standards of printing (beginning around 2000): the paper gets cheap, and the binding too. I would love to support Yale University Press in its commitment to keep this edition in print. Unfortunately, if you are a serious enough student to value Professor Booth's work, you will be using this volume enough to need a better printing, and I need to encourage you to seek out a used copy of an earlier printing.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A.K.Farrar on January 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
134 pages of sonnets - 583 page book!
This is surely the definitive edition of Shakespeare's Sonnets.
I thought I knew the sonnets until I read this - and re-read and read again.
The poems are presented in facsimile with a modern version facing allowing the readers to attempt their own direct reading if they wish. The modern version has a British spelling slant - which I find gratifying!
Mr Booth is painstaking in his scholarship - attempting to give a feeling for the Renaissance reader's understanding of the poems as well as explaining the `meaning' of the lines. And his attempts are successful.
I cannot imagine a better edition in my lifetime!
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Inspired Dribble on January 21, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Who is to judge Shakespeare? Here all I can question is the medium. I purchased this book expecting normal sized print as it is a dimensionally larger than average sized paperback. Ironically however, the print in this edition is rather smallish, compressed, and often smudged throughout the book.

If want want a scholarly text this is a good one. However, if you wear reading glasses and simply want to read Shakespeare's Sonnets in a relaxed way without squinting, you may want to look elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Madrina on December 23, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Is there anything or anyone to compare to Shakespeare? You can never just read Shakespeare or even begin to feel the passion of his Sonnets until you get to know him. This is truly a wonderful edition of his work and a perfect gift for the lover of his writings. Poetry such as this Elizabethan prose is no longer written , the emotions,passions,tragedies are from yesteryear but as magnificent today as they were so long ago when such expression was a way of life. An excellent addition to any collection of prose or Shakespeare.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bethanie Frank on January 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an amazing book - excellent for the student of Shakespeare. Wonderful reference and resource book to keep on hand. More information than any other collection of sonnets I've seen.
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