Tag Archives: Shakespeare’s Sonnets

The puzzle of someone else’s notes

By Sara Marie Westh I have over the past half year or so been working my way through the J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps notebook on Shakespeare’s Sonnets, held at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Archives. As you can imagine, puzzling out the notes of another person, notes compiled more than a century ago, and a vast amount of […]

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New Year’s Sonnet

Sonnet 15 When I consider every thing that growes Holds in perfection but a little moment. That this huge stage presenteth nought but showes Whereon the stars in secret influence comment. When I perceive that men as plants increase, Cheared and checkt even by the selfe-same skie: Vaunt in their youthfull sap, at height decrease, […]

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Re-reading Sonnet 76

Sonnet 76 Why is my verse so barren of new pride? So far from variation or quicke change? Why with the time do I not glance aside To new-found methods and to compounds strange? Why write I still all one, ever the same, And keepe invention in a noted weed, That every word doth almost […]

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Shakespeare’s Modern Sonnets

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a day’s symposium at the University of Roehampton on Shakespeare and the Contemporary Sonnet. There I met poet Philip Terry who has published his own adaptations and creative responses to Shakespeare’s Sonnets. He’s Director of Creative Writing for the University of Essex. Here he is reading three […]

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Dame Judi Dench reads Sonnet 116

The first tweet I saw when I logged on this morning was that Dame Judi Dench, C.H. had just read a Shakespeare sonnet on the B.B.C. Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme. I’d missed it but wanted immediately to know which one she’d read. Her voice is exactly well suited to these poems: intimate, multi-textured, lyrical. Dame […]

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‘Music to hear’: Shakespeare and Rufus Wainwright

To go into the Barbican concert hall and see the full forces of the BBC Symphony Orchestra ranged in tiers before you is to see a splendid sight. The auditorium, shaped like a great oyster shell, resembles that of The Olivier Theatre at The National. In both, visibility is excellent from any part of the […]

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Shakespeare’s Many Moods of Love

The great actor Sir Ian McKellen, who is also well-known as a gay activist, was recently quoted in the press as saying that Shakespeare himself was probably gay. Invited to comment on this, I pointed out that there was nothing new in the idea, which for a long time has been frequently expressed especially because […]

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Queering Shakespeare and Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the new Guy Richie film released in the UK this month, will inevitably raise the question foregrounded by his first Sherlock Holmes film: are Holmes and Watson supposed to be gay? The films unashamedly toy with the idea. Discussing Sherlock Holmes on The Late Show with David Letterman, Robert […]

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Shakespearience 3: Helena’s Fantasies (Part Two)

Today I want to explore further that strange speech of Helena’s from All’s Well That Ends Well that I shared with you in my last post. You’ll recall that Paroles says of virginity,‘’tis a withered pear. Will you anything with it?’, to which Helena answers: Not my virginity yet— There shall your master have a […]

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