Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the collection of poems published in 1609 by Thomas Thorpe: Shakespeare’s Sonnets, “never before imprinted”. Yet, while some of Shakespeare’s other poems and many of his plays were often reprinted in his lifetime, the Sonnets were not a publishing success. They had to make their own way, outside the main canon of Shakespeare’s work: wonderful, troubling, patchy, inspiring and baffling, and they have appealed in different ways to different times. Most are addressed to a man, something often overlooked and occasionally concealed; one early and notorious edition even changed some of the pronouns.

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  • Hannah Crawforth No other episodes
    Senior Lecturer in Early Modern Literature at King's College London
  • Don Paterson No other episodes
    Poet and Professor of Poetry at the University of St Andrews
  • Emma Smith 6 episodes
    Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Hertford College, Oxford

Reading list

  • Shakespeare's Sonnets
    Stephen Booth (Yale University Press, 2000) Google Books →
  • On Shakespeare's Sonnets: A Poets' Celebration
    Hannah Crawforth and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (eds.) (Arden, 2016) Google Books →
  • Shakespeare's Sonnets: The State of Play
    Hannah Crawforth, Elizabeth Scott-Baumann and Clare Whitehead (eds.) (Arden, 2018) Google Books →
  • Shakespeare's Sonnets
    Katherine Duncan-Jones (The Arden Shakespeare, 1997) Google Books →
  • "Secret" Arts: Elizabethan Miniatures and Sonnets
    Patricia Fumerton (Representations 15, summer 1986, University of California Press )
  • Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England
    Kim Hall (Cornell University Press, 1995) Google Books →
  • The Sonnets and A Lover's Complaint
    John Kerrigan (Penguin Classics, 1986) Google Books →
  • The Afterlife of Shakespeare's Sonnets
    Jane Kingsley-Smith (Cambridge University Press, 2019) Google Books →
  • Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets
    Don Paterson (Faber, 2010) Google Books →
  • The Complete Short Stories
    Oscar Wilde (ed. John Sloan) (Oxford World's Classics ) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m000x6tr

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Auto-category: 821.3 (English poetry)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 1609, Thomas Thorpe published Shakespeare's Sonnets.