Critical Survey of Shakespeare's Sonnets Review

“Critical commentaries on Shakespeare's sonnets such as Stephen Booth's (1978) or Helen Vendler's (1997) that are written for specialists can be daunting for lower-level students or the wider public; this volume succeeds in offering general readers a path into these poems that is more accessible yet still detailed. An opening section on Shakespeare's life and the poetic features and problems of his sonnets is followed by a lengthier unit on the sonnets' context of Renaissance English poetry, the relevance of the poet's biography, and a broad analysis of the poems' poetic language and prosody. Closely-focused two-page readings of25 selected sonnets are also provided (with keywords listed to highlight themes), followed by two lengthy sections offering samples of modern critical commentary on the sonnets' "Form and Technique" and "Main Themes." The final section presents the entire sonnet sequence, plus guides to additional online and print resources. The contributors' comments are critically balanced in a jargon-free, even conversational, style. This broadly inclusive volume will be a useful addition to libraries serving a wide range of patrons. Recommended.”