The Sonnets and Narrative Poems

Front Cover, Jan 1, 2010 - Drama
2 Reviews
"The Sonnets and Narrative Poems" collects together all the non-dramatic poetry of William Shakespeare. While Shakespeare is known best for his plays he also wrote numerous love sonnets and a handful of narrative poems which are excellent literary works in their own right. The narrative poems include two erotically themed works, "Venus and Adonis" and "The Rape of Lucrece" as well as the romantic narratives of "A Lover's Complaint" and "The Phoenix and the Turtle". Shakespeare also wrote a collection of 154 love sonnets. Believed to be written throughout his lifetime there is some dispute as to the intended order of "The Sonnets". It is thought that he planned two contrasting series for the poems. The first is of the desire for a married woman of dark complexion, the so-called "dark lady", and the other about the conflicted love of a fair young man, the "fair youth". This classic collection of non-dramatic poetry shows Shakespeare in a different light than his dramatic works and helps to exemplify the full breadth of his immense literary talents.

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Review: The Sonnets and Narrative Poems

User Review  - Benjamin Davidson - Goodreads

If only I could still quote from this book off the top of my head, I would feel far more cultured and worldly. Nevertheless, many of these sonnets are sufficiently easy to read in the 21st century that one doesn't have to strain themselves to see the beauty and the truth behind them. Read full review

Review: The Sonnets and Narrative Poems

User Review  - Stephen - Goodreads

Enjoying the narrative poem Venus and Adonis at the moment. Great stuff. Read full review

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About the author (2010)

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

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