The Sonnets: The State of Play

edited by Hannah Crawforth , Elizabeth Scott-Baumann and Clare Whitehead

DOI: 10.5040/9781474277167

ISBN: 9781474277136

Shakespeare's Sonnets both generate and demonstrate many of today's most pressing debates about Shakespeare and poetry. They explore history and aesthetics, gender and society, time and memory, and continue to invite divergent responses from critics and poets. This freeze-frame volume showcases the range of current debate and ideas surrounding these still startling poems. Each chapter has been carefully selected for its originality and relevance to the needs of students, teachers, and researchers. Key themes and topics covered include:

Textual issues and editing the sonnets

Reception, interpretation and critical history of the sonnets

The place of the sonnets in teaching

Critical approaches and close reading

Memorialisation and monument-making

Contemporary poetry and the Sonnets

All the essays offer new perspectives and combine to give readers an up-to-date understanding of what is exciting and challenging about Shakespeare's Sonnets. The approach, based on an individual poetic form, reflects how the sonnets are most commonly studied and taught.

‘An exemplary volume, ideal for classroom use and filled with suggestive pointers toward new directions in scholarship on the sonnets by a well-balanced assembly of leading scholars. The volume's subtitle could not be more apt, in that the essays collectively exhibit both the “state” of methodologies in circulation and the “play” therein that finds new ways of navigating the literary corpus. The editors' lucid introduction is ideally paired with Heather Dubrow's afterword, which points up the individual and collective merits of the contributions with laser-like precision.’ – SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500–1900