Présentation de l'éditeur
Unlike other ebook editions, which are merely copies of existing print editions, this edition has been completely reformatted for optimal reading on an electronic reader.
The text of this ebook is based on the editions of Shakespeare’s sonnets edited by C. C. Stopes, W. J. Rolfe, and Israel Gollancz.
We have attempted to limit each page to ten lines (however this is dictated by the length of the notes). Where possible notes are provided on the same page as the verse they refer to. This is to facilitate ease of reference, and is unique to this edition. Notes are indicated by a bracketed letter: eg [a]. The footnotes include omitted or additional text, together with material useful to the general reader.
For each sonnet we provide
•the modern, footnoted, version
•the unfootnoted sonnet on a single page
•links to the quarto 1 (1609) together with related poems (eg the Passionate Pilgrim versions of sonnets 138 and 144).
Unlike most other texts, when providing excerpts from secondary material (including Shakespeare's plays) we always indicate the character speaking the excerpted lines, together with information to help the reader establish context (for example we indicate where the character may be reading; or, if the quotation occurs in an answer to a question we include the question being asked).
The sonnets can be divided into three main sequences: the first and longest sequence is that of the ‘Fair Youth.’ In this sequence the poet urges a young man to marry and procreate, and it also includes the poet’s contemplation of loss of the beloved fair youth when he travels away from the other man. This sequence also includes a contemplation of the youth’s infidelities, and an eventual reconciliation between the poet and the youth. The second, shorter sequence, is that of the ‘Dark Lady.’ In this sequence the poet subverts conventions employed by contemporary sonneteers. It is clear from this group that despite uncertainty about the dark lady the poet cannot overcome his passion for her. There are hints that the fair youth (or another man) and the dark lady have had an affair. The final sequence, consisting of just two sonnets, is based on the Palantine Anthology Fable.