Shakespeare’s Sonnets : With 300 Years Of Commentary

I recently received a press release for Carl Atkins’ new book, Shakespeare’s Sonnets : With Three Hundred Years of Commentary.  This isn’t just another printing of the collection, this is a hefty volume that attempts to pull together and collate 17 different “scholarly editions” of the sonnets in order to compare the differences between them. Most interesting to me is that the sonnets are all published with the original spellings and punctuation in tact.  There’s even a sample file available weighing in a 78 pages, including all 154 sonnets in their original form (just none of the commentary, that’s what the book’s for). If you’re a fan of the sonnets and looking for some in depth discussion about, quite literally, every last character Shakespeare wrote, this might be the book for you.  I think I might debate the web page where it says that this is a book for everyone, including those who are getting their first time exposure to the sonnets.  It’s hard enough to read Shakespeare without every word being spelled wrong! 

One thought on “Shakespeare’s Sonnets : With 300 Years Of Commentary

  1. Thanks for the review, Duane. My wife agreed with you at first about the difficulty in reading the text. But after the first half-dozen sonnets she found she got used to it. I think that is what most new readers would find as well. I thought hard about whether to modernize the text, but decided there was no way to leave the puntuation intact and modernize the spelling–just didn’t look right. With a little effort, I think even those new to The Sonnets will find those funny looking words not so bothersome and worth the efort at getting at the orginal text. My opinion, anyway.

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