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The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets Paperback – September 19, 1999
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Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets is comprised of a single introductory chapter outlining Vendler's own critical perspective and 153 individual sonnets, together with critical commentary. (Sonnets 153 and 154 are presented together in one essay.) Vendler's format seeks to restore "comprehension of the internal logic and old finery of Elizabethan lyric" which has almost completely disappeared from contemporary examinations of these sonnets. Vendler's book will help readers to better understand the language of Shakespeare's sonnets as well as uncover textual clues in a clearer and more deliberate fashion, leading readers to a greater appreciation of the power of language when manipulated by a master poet intent upon expressing the inner life of the speaker.
The author provides fresh and unexpected interpretation of the sonnets based on clear, textual evidence rather than through a dominant theoretical perspective. She also explores linguistic strategies directly from Shakespeare's own compositional acts and then constructs upon them an interpretation of the poet's duty "to create aesthetically convincing representations of feelings felt and thoughts thought." Vendler chooses to concentrate her efforts on Shakespeare's ability to accurately convey the speaker's own misery, torment, joy, wonder, exuberance, etc. within the mere fourteen lines demanded of the sonnet, that most structured of all forms of expression.Read more ›
Nevertheless I have to wonder if the effort of working (and it is hard work) through Vendler's book is worth the agony. Some of the previous reviewers have pointed out some of the failings. The diagrams, of which there are many, were for me simply worthless. (See the review by Royal Diasticutis on this issue.) Also this is not a self-standing book. The reader who has not specialized in the sonnets needs another more basic text to use along side Vendler's. (She suggests several.) Vendler's editors should have insisted that she skip the diagrams and instead add more basic information. This would have made this book much more useful and manageable.
The main reason I found this book far less than pleasurable despite the beauty of Shakespeare's poetry is that Vendler is a very poor writer. I do not understand how someone who professes to love poetry and to devote her life to it can be such a tedious, stiff, and pretentious writer of prose. Vendler must secretly hate the English language.Read more ›
Interestingly, Vendler does not often provide interpretations of the meaning of the poems. Instead, she chooses to provide the reader with an appreciation of the elements of the sonnets in order to allow one to make their own informed interpretations.
Vendler has created a book that mirrors the sonnets in that it can be enjoyed on many different levels. But, regardless of which level upon which it is enjoyed, the book is an indespensible guide into the wonders of Shakespeare's sonnets. Any student of Shakespeare needs to have this book in their collection of critical works on the Bard.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One more book devoted to William. How can much more be said?Published 2 months ago by Matthew Weiner
Excellent scholarly examination of the sonnets in great detail, for their art, without much concern for the circumstances of their writing,Published 6 months ago by Paul Yergin
I like the book's format: each sonnet is presented as originally published in the early 17th century and a modern version is presented below it and on the same page. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Anita
This was a gift to a relative who's into Shakespeare's sonnets. I have no opinion of the book. But I do know that it's regarded as superb.Published 9 months ago by Calvin F. Senning
Unique insight and commentary, and essential balance to Booth, Duncan-Jones, and Patterson (all of whom are also essential Sonnet resources!)Published 11 months ago by Brian Myers Cooper
Shakespeare uses words the way Mozart uses notes. See writing at the very highest pitch of which we are capable. Read morePublished 12 months ago by david m. rieker
Vendler's analysis of Shakespeare's sonnets is brilliant, deep, and accessible.Published 12 months ago by Paul K
A really beautiful edition and I bought one for myself and one as a gift.Published 16 months ago by Amazon Crazy