In his own time, Shakespeare was best known to the reading public as a poet, and even today copies of his Sonnets regularly outsell everything else he wrote. For this new edition, Stephen Orgel offers a warmly personal and original introduction to Shakespeares best-loved and most widely read poems. Careful readings emphasise their sexual and temperamental ambiguity, their textual history and the special perils an editor faces when modernising the original quartos spelling, punctuation and even layout.
The edition retains the text of the Sonnets prepared by Gwynne Evans, together with his detailed notes on each, and a line-by-line commentary. Throughout, the voices of the Sonnets appear in all their intricacy and dramatic power. Shakespeares ever-popular love poems are illustrated with enchanting paintings by the noted Edwardian artist Charles Robinson.