Tag Archives: University of Tubingen

Sonnet for Christmas

Perhaps this is the perfect Shakespeare sonnet for Christmas Day, when millions throughout the world celebrate God’s own gift of love in the person of Jesus. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to Sonnets for Advent, and especially to the students and faculty at the University of Tubingen for hosting their own Sonnets for […]

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Sonnets for Advent 24: Sonnet 135

Is this the most outrageous sonnet of them all? If ‘will’ is slang for both the male and female sexual organs, sexual passion, and is an abbreviated, familiar form of Shakespeare’s first name, then the possible meanings of Sonnet 135 are playfully numerous and potentially surreal.There are 13 mentions of ‘will’ which suggests deliberate obsession […]

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Sonnets for Advent 23: Sonnet 104

This sonnet marks the passing of time over three years. For people wanting to turn Shakespeare’s collection into a narrative sequence, Sonnet 104 is an important point of reference (the relationship between Shakespeare and ‘the Young Man’ has now lasted three years). But again there is no mention of the sex of the addressee and […]

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Sonnets for Advent 22: Sonnet 102

Although Sonnet 102 is highly lyrical it is ostensibly about lyrical restraint. The poet must be careful not to write too much in praise of the beloved, since ‘sweets grown common lose their dear delight.’ But it’s the memory of their love when new that carries the reader through the central section, and here the […]

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Sonnets for Advent 21: Sonnet 98

From its incidental, understated beginning through to its rich sounds of ‘Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose’, Sonnet 98 evokes the presence of the lover in the natural world, a presence sought in and inspired by the season of spring. Sonnet 98 is the one that Mrs Ramsey is struck by towards the […]

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Sonnets for Advent 20: Sonnet 76

I like to think of this sonnet as coming at the midway point in the collection. It seems utterly appropriate at this half-way stage that the poet should be asking, ‘Why is my verse so barren of new pride’? How can he keep re-inventing new ways to praise the beloved? Here again his expressions of […]

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Sonnets for Advent 19: Sonnet 73

Autumn leaves (‘or few, or none’), ruined abbeys, the anxiety of age, and a longing to be cherished are all evoked through the musicality of Sonnet 73. Shakespeare’s sonnets are not all equally lyrical. This one is in part characterised by its sibillance (‘Death’s second self that seals up all in rest’) and in part […]

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Sonnets for Advent 18: Sonnet 71

You can hear the ‘surly sullen bell’ chiming through this sonnet, with its long, definite monosyllables. I love the way the poet establishes the conceit of not wanting to be remembered, and yet is evoking memory in every single line. Sonnet 71 is here read by one of our Shakespeare Aloud actors, John Robert Partridge. […]

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Sonnets for Advent 17: Sonnet 66

Today’s sonnet seems full of the winter blues, and perhaps reflects back some of the tiredness that can hit us at this time of year. A twelve-lined sentence limps emphatically forward, stitched together with the repetition of ‘And’ at the beginning of ten of those lines. The couplet reminds us of the tiredness we started […]

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