The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1925 Tuesday, 22 November 2005
From: Thomas Jensen <
Date: Monday, 21 Nov 2005 11:16:19 -0700
Subject: Were many of the sonnets commissioned?
My wife and I are reading Helen Vendler's 1997 edition of the Sonnets.
It seems everyone who approaches them, including Professor Vendler,
infers some level of biography from them, (if only to the extent of the
person or persons to which they are addressed.) Professor A. L. Rowse
provides a very cogent narrative, for example. Nevertheless, my
personal impression is that many of those inferences are rather
strained. An alternative possibility is that the poems are a mixture of
personal poetry and poetry that was "commissioned," as the first 17
could easily have been. That would certainly explain the immense
variety of tone and implicit point of view. In this context I have
1. Is there any historical evidence beyond the dedication that the some
of the sonnets were commissioned?
2. Is there any historical evidence of other Elizabethan poets having
been commissioned to write a sonnet for someone to someone else?
3. Are there any good critical works examining the relationship of the
sonnets to the plays?
Thank you all in advance for any comments on this topic.
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook,
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>
DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.