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Gay Bard

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.011  Thursday, 8 January 2015

 

[1] From:        Ian Steere < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 8, 2015 at 7:13:49 AM EST

     Subject:    Gay Bard

 

[2] From:        Ian Steere < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 8, 2015 at 7:09:44 AM EST

     Subject:    Gay Bard

 

[3] From:        John Briggs < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         January 8, 2015 at 10:44:43 AM EST

     Subject:    Re: Gay Bard 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Ian Steere < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 8, 2015 at 7:13:49 AM EST

Subject:    Gay Bard

 

I have pointed out a number of serious flaws in the David Basch approach to the Sonnets (SHAKSPER, December 28). I did not imagine his approach, its rabbinic bent and the fondness for postulating hidden codes. Each is well represented in his several published expositions on Shakespeare’s works (accessible through any online search which combines his name with that of the poet). 

 

These techniques of David offer to the suitably faithful a semblance of independent corroboration. However, his response to my challenges (SHAKSPER, January 7) ignores their substance. He, therefore, fails to uphold that semblance.

 

Instead, he falls back on his allegorically spiritual interpretations of Sonnet 144 and others. David imagines the fair youth and dark lady of the poems to be alter-egos of the speaker of his interpretation (just as some Oxfordians imagine the rival poet of the poems to be an alter-ego of the speaker of their interpretation). He wants us to accept his images as reflections of authorial intention. He thinks them truer than all those other mundane, witty, bawdy, metaphoric and/or allegoric interpretations of the poems (albeit that some of these have at least as good an internal consistency). But still he offers not even a hint of objective justification for the elevation!

 

Here then is my take of David’s latest position (in this forum, if not elsewhere): that if readers have a form of faith they may interpret Shakespeare’s Sonnets (and plays) from a perspective of that faith. I have long accepted the truth of this condition. Of course, it presents no obstacle to the preferment of any number of other interpretations, including those based on objective evidence.  

 

As for the solutions to the problems of the Sonnets offered by my argument, David says he will leave it to others to judge. Nevertheless, he proceeds to judge: by dismissing what he terms my “attempts at overlaying speculative and largely invented historical settings in the life of the poet to explain them”. 

 

Come on, David! You cannot expect to command respect for your opinions if you are not prepared to justify them. Please identify the speculative and largely invented historical settings to which you refer and explain how your assessment disqualifies my reasoning.   

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Ian Steere < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 8, 2015 at 7:09:44 AM EST

Subject:    Gay Bard

 

Susan Rojas (SHAKSPER, January7) asks me to clarify the consistency of two of my earlier remarks: (1) that the sonnets are (in substance) autobiography by the non-aristocratic, non-rabbinic poet named Will, whose patron was Henry Wriothesley; and (2) that the prime purpose of the sonnets was to promote patronage via the associated relationship.

 

I used the term “autobiography” here to represent writings by an author which represent his/her own voice, feelings and motivations (whether or not some of these are hidden or less than wholly truthful, and whether or not the author intended the writings to be published). In this case, I argue that the author’s motivations were to progress a privately-conducted relationship and the patronage expected from it. For this reason, there would indeed be much flattery as well as the display of hurt feelings and so on. I agree that - like all autobiography - it may not be entirely representative of the writer’s true thoughts. For this reason (as for any autobiography) we need to assess its reliability through its consistency with other data: for example, the circumstances of publication and author, the content of others of his/her writings, independent corroboration of situations encompassed.

 

I hope that this does clarify for Susan. If anyone wishes for an reminder of the techniques which I have used to identify the Sonnets as autobiography, they are summarised here.

 

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        John Briggs < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 8, 2015 at 10:44:43 AM EST

Subject:    Re: Gay Bard

 

Marina Tarlinskaya wrote:

 

>However, from what we know about his epoch, Shakespeare

>probably was bisexual: it was common during his time and in 

>the theatrical circle in particular, as it had been common in later 

>Roman empire: every fashionable young Roman was supposed 

>to try gay sex at least once.

 

That is a remarkable sentence, every single element of which could (and should) be challenged. (Like Mary McCarthy on Lillian Hellman, I have doubts about “and” and “the”.) Marina Tarlinskaya clearly knows different things about “his epoch” (and the later Roman empire - perhaps even gay sex) than the rest of us.

 

John Briggs

 
 
Interpretation versus Reading

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.010  Thursday, 8 January 2015

 

From:        John Drakakis < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 8, 2015 at 6:09:19 AM EST

Subject:    RE: Interpretation versus Reading

 

Larry Weiss has really opened a Pandora's box.

 

Unfortunately, he resorts to caricature to explain the difference between ‘reading’ and ‘interpretation’. Of course, the issue is complicated in the case of writing from the distant past, since before we ‘interpret’ we need to generate ‘facts’.  For example, we are reasonably certain of the date of Shakespeare’s son Hamnet’s death; we are on much shakier ground if we think that this ‘fact’ influenced the tragedy that Shakespeare later wrote. The late Terence Hawkes in his books ‘Meaning by Shakespeare’, and in ‘Shakespeare in the Present’ makes it clear that it is WE who generate facts and accord them meaning. There is no such thing as a value-free ‘reading’ - even for professional historians who are fond of claiming the mantle of objectivity. This is nowhere more evident than in the case of Shakespeare’s Sonnets that have been submitted to a plethora of autobiographical ‘readings’ where the autobiography is that of the critic rather than that of the writer.  The other Terry, Terry Eagleton, was quite correct when he said that “King Lear is not about Leeds United”, but whenever we attempt to say what Shakespeare is ‘about’ we invariably import our own values and emphases into the narrative.  This is a much more subtle process than Larry Weiss suggests.  Indeed ‘reading’ and ‘interpretation are two sides of the same coin, and in the case of Shakespeare we delude ourselves if we think that the two are easily separable. Even in the most scientific area of Shakespeare studies, textual scholarship, the ‘facts’ of particular ink marks on a page have no meaning at all UNTIL we gather them together in what we consider to be a plausible pattern that will explain their existence.  We like to comfort ourselves by trying to identify the ‘-ism’ with which a particular critic is publicly associated so that we can pigeonhole her/his remarks and possibly their outlook. Reading symptomatically (since that is what this kind of reading is) has its pitfalls since it lulls us into a false sense of security.  There has been much finger-wagging at Stephen Greenblatt for what is alleged to be his departures from New Historicist dogma, but those departures (and from a dogma to which he has never laid claim) offer some of the most interesting ‘readings’/ ‘insights’ / ‘interpretations’ of the texts with which he deals. Is it not a blight that comes with the routine professionalisation of the discipline that any critical utterance must be constrained by the ‘ism’ to which it is confined by readers?  This is the contradiction that Larry Weiss glosses over, and yet it is probably the most fascinating aspect of what we might call ‘the critical process’.

 

Happy New Year

 

As Ever

John Drakakis

 
 
The 10 Best Shakespeare-Inspired Pieces of Music

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.009  Thursday, 8 January 2015

 

From:        Hardy Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         January 7, 2015 at 2:46:51 PM EST

Subject:    The 10 Best Shakespeare-Inspired Pieces of Music

 

From the Guardian:

 

http://www.theguardian.com/culture/gallery/2014/apr/18/10-best-shakespeare-inspired-music-in-pictures

 

The 10 best Shakespeare-inspired pieces of music – in pictures

 

The Observer’s classical music critic Fiona Maddocks chooses some of the best music inspired by Shakespeare – from Purcell to Bernstein to Elvis Costello – to mark the 450th anniversary of the Bard’s birth 

 

What have we missed? Have your say in the comments below and your suggestion could feature in the alternative list next week

 

West Side Story:

Bernstein’s Romeo and Juliet update, complete with balcony scene, was originally about Irish-Polish Catholics and Jews in Manhattan and called East Side Story. Jews were replaced by Puerto Ricans, the musical was retitled, Stephen Sondheim supplied sharp lyrics, Jerome Robbins the unforgettable choreography – the rest is history. The 1961 film made the work a worldwide hit. Mambo gained new life as a shirt-waving encore for Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. Lou Reed created his own cross-city song in Romeo had Juliette: “Betwixt between the East and West he calls on her wearing a leather vest”

 

Falstaff:

Verdi had a passion for Shakespeare all his life, and dreamed of making an opera of King Lear. He never did, but Macbeth, Otello and the last of his 28 operas, Falstaff (based on The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV Pts 1 and 2), are among his greatest works. His creation of Sir John Falstaff nearly outdoes Shakespeare in its combination of wit, wisdom and human understanding. The teasing of the “fat knight” by Mistress Quickly and her fellow merry wives narrowly escapes cruelty thanks to Falstaff’s final resigned benevolence, summed up in the closing fugue Tutto nel mondo è burla about the folly of the world – for many, a top moment in all opera

 

The Boys from Syracuse:

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s 1938 Broadway musical – the first ever based on Shakespeare – is a version of The Comedy of Errors, based on a Roman play by Plautus. The 1940 film starred Allan Jones, who played both identical twins, Antipholus of Ephesus and Antipholus of Syracuse, who were separated in a shipwreck as young children. Many mistaken identities later all ends happily. Ronnie Corbett and Bob Monkhouse appeared in a 1963 West End production. Judi Dench staged it at Regent’s Park. Of the many cover versions of This Can’t Be Love – by Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra – Stacey Kent’s might just be the best

 

The Lion King:

It’s a long way from Can You Feel the Love Tonight to Hamlet, but think of I Just Can’t Wait to Be King and Shakespearean themes start to resonate. The Lion King, a 1994 Disney film then a stage version, is about lions in Africa but cites the Bible and particularly Hamlet as inspirations. With songs by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice, it boasts two bards of its own. The Washington Post called it “Shakespearean in tone, epic in scope” but concluded “it seems more appropriate for grown-ups than for kids. If truth be told, even for adults it is downright strange.” Never mind. It ranks as one of the highest-grossing hand-drawn films in history

 

Kiss Me Kate:

In Cole Porter’s 1948 hit Broadway musical, the central characters are staging The Taming of the Shrew. Life imitates art when the star and his ex-wife and leading lady start sparring. In 1949 it won the first Tony award for best musical. Hits include Too Darn Hot, Where Is the Life that Late I Led, Always True to You in My Fashion. The key to love and life, it turns out, is to Brush Up Your Shakespeare: “Just declaim a few lines from Othella/And they think you’re a heckuva fella./ If your blonde won’t respond when you flatter ’er/ Tell her what Tony told Cleopaterer” – the more ingenious the rhyme the better

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

Mendelssohn was first inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream in his teens, writing an overture and then in 1842 incidental music, including the famous Wedding March. The orchestral Scherzo, with its giddy, fairy-feet opening and rude, rustic interventions, is a favourite on the piano and as a ballet too. Purcell’s The Fairy Queen camps it up as a masque. Benjamin Britten’s 1960 opera, with Oberon, King of the Fairies, ethereally sung by a countertenor, was written for the reopening of Jubilee Hall on the Aldeburgh seafront. The Donkey Show: A Midsummer Night’s Disco (1999), a Broadway disco-era musical, is probably best forgotten

 

Romeo and Juliet:

Tchaikovsky struggled with Shakespeare, since he loathed the English, but he wrote incidental music for Hamlet and The Tempest, and the Fantasy-Overture Romeo and Juliet is one of his masterpieces. He liked the play: “No kings, no marches, no boring old grand opera. Just love, love, love!” When the composer Balakirev heard the love theme, he wrote: “This tune is simply DELIGHTFUL. When I play it, I imagine you lying naked in your bath with your lady friend, washing your tummy with hot lather from scented soap.” Tchaikovsky rather preferred men, but the sentiment is sweet. Check out Prokofiev’s brilliant ballet version

 

Where the Bee Sucks:

Robert Johnson (1583-c1634), lutenist and composer, worked with Shakespeare, setting lyrics from later plays such as Where the Bee Sucks and Full Fathom Five from The Tempest. Said to be Shakespeare’s most musical play, it has inspired at least 46 operas (including one by Thomas Adès), orchestral works (Tchaikovsky, Arthur Sullivan and Sibelius) and songs (Vaughan Williams, Amy Beach, Michael Nyman). Ben Whishaw’s dreamy Where the Bee Sucks in the 2010 film soundtrack by Elliott Goldenthal no doubt gave teenage girls a new taste for English lessons. Crisp in comparison, Isobel Baillie’s 1943 performance has a virginal charm

 

Schubert’s An Silvia:

Who is Silvia? is one of Schubert’s best-loved songs, written at the height of his brief career in 1828, shortly before Die Winterreise. The text is from The Two Gentlemen of Verona. It features the lovers of the title and two women, one of whom is Silvia, much wooed daughter of the Duke of Milan. Schubert, whose other Shakespeare settings are Hark, Hark the Lark and Come Thou Monarch of the Vine, reflected the elegance and wit of the original. Of the dozens of recordings, none matches that by the great German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. For more recent one-girl Shakespeare hits try Elvis Costello’s Miss Macbeth or the Band’s Ophelia

 

Henry V:

Of all the epic soundtracks for film versions of Shakespeare, none matches those awe-inspiring, patriotic scores William Walton wrote for Laurence Olivier: for Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1948) and Richard III (1955). Since Walton had been earning less than £100 per year, these fiercely demanding commissions, with their deadlines and tight structures, gave him new confidence, though he was unable to rid himself of the idea of film music being “low brow”. Olivier put him straight, saying of Henry V: “The music actually makes the film.” Try watching the Battle of Agincourt with the sound down and you see he’s right

 
 
Welcome to the New Year

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.008  Thursday, 8 January 2015

 

From:        Hardy M. Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         Thursday, January 8, 2015

Subject:     PS: To Yesterday’s Post

 

Dear SHAKSPEReans,

 

I intended yesterday to comment on SHAKSPER’s health, but I forgot—ah, aging (I am of the nature to grow old, I cannot avoid aging.).

 

There are 1030+ subscribers to the SHAKSPER Conference who receive the SHAKSPER Newsletters by e-mail.

 

Last year, I also began a new way to disseminate Newsletters through the social media site Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shaksper . Currently, 309 people have “Liked” SHAKSPER FB and can read Newsletters and occasional statuses there. 

 

If you are a FB subscriber and would like to receive SHAKSPER Newsletters by e-mail instead of or in addition to your FB subscription, please either click the Subscriber tab at the top of the SHAKSPER FB homepage or go to the SHAKSPER web site and click on the to How to Sign Up under the About tab: http://shaksper.net/contact .

 

I further urge everyone to explore the riches of the SHAKSPER web site: shaksper.net .

 

I am sure that 2015 will continue the expansion and health of SHAKSPER.

 

Hardy

 
 
Gay Bard

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.007  Wednesday, 8 January 2015

 

[1] From:        Marina Tarlinskaya < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         December 28, 2014 at 8:19:08 PM EST

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Gay Bard 

 

[2] From:        Susan Rojas < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         December 29, 2014 at 8:35:33 AM EST

     Subject:    Gay Bard 

 

[3] From:        Sidney Lubow < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         December 30, 2014 at 5:06:36 PM EST

     Subject:    Gay Bard 

 

[4] From:        David Basch < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         December 29, 2014 at 12:45:00 PM EST

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Gay Bard 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Marina Tarlinskaya < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         December 28, 2014 at 8:19:08 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Gay Bard

 

I fully agree with David Basch. Shakespeare did not write for eternity, the oncoming epochs, or the present-day readers. He wrote for his audience in his time-slot, and should not be interpreted from our perspective. However, from what we know about his epoch, Shakespeare probably was bisexual: it was common during his time and in the theatrical circle in particular, as it had been common in later Roman empire: every fashionable young Roman was supposed to try gay sex at least once.

 

Marina Tarlinskaja

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Susan Rojas < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         December 29, 2014 at 8:35:33 AM EST

Subject:    Gay Bard

 

Ian Steere states in his reply to David Basch:

 

“I deduce from the aforementioned independent (but abnormally coherent) sources of information that the prime purpose of the sonnets was to promote patronage via the associated relationship.”

 

and 

 

“The evidence suggests that, unlike all his other published works, the Sonnets are (in substance) autobiography by the non-aristocratic, non-rabbinic poet named Will, whose patron was Henry Wriothesley.”

 

I’m a bit confused. If the sonnets were primarily to promote the patronage of Wriothesley, wouldn’t that compromise the autobiographical aspect? Wouldn’t they have been written based more on flattery and the desire to please than to reveal any truly personal ideas or stories? 

 

Or...do I misunderstand? 

 

Thanks - 

 

Susan Rojas 

 

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Sidney Lubow < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         December 30, 2014 at 5:06:36 PM EST

Subject:    Gay Bard

 

David Basch wrote:

 

>I present what I believe is the allegory that the Sonnets present. 

>I do so by reading and interpreting what the poet has written, not 

>by reading his mind, which would be far beyond my capabilities,

 

In this discussion involving the mind or interpreting the thoughts of Shakespeare, what can be more relevant than sonnet 10 wherein the bard speaks to his glass as Narcissus.

 

I must remind the group that the young Shakespeare is telling us the story of the fable of Lord Narcissus, a fifteen-year-old son of the river king, Cephisus, and the naiad, Lirope, who swam in his stream. Shakespeare did not mention the lad’s name, but he knew the fable very well.  He proceded to write 154 poems on that theme. They are not autobiographical, but merely a clever use of the fable, just as George Bernard Shaw did with his Pygmalion. Shaw did title his play to let us put the plot and its relationship together.  Shaw and every one of us, including Brian Vickers, could have used a little creative titling help to understand the Sonnets through A Lover’s Complaint, narrated by the Muse in prologue.

 

One must study the fable of Narcissus.  He was a beloved, handsome lad. but he loved no one. That was the reason he was punished by the goddess Nemesis, and sent to a perfect pool so that he could look at his reflection, doomed to love himself and be rejected.  He beat himself to death because of it and in the place he died a yellow and white flower grew out ot the ground. In the following sonnet, one can hear him talking to ‘thyself’ three times, and saying to his alter ego, ‘O change thy thought, that I may change my mind.!’ As if he were a clairvoyant able read another’s thought and mind.  The bard knows the alter ego’s mind very well, it is his own.  David, the bard is reading his own mind for you to read. The clues are everywhere and in every sonnet, and in A Lover’s Complaint, not beyond your capability. 

 

Sonnet 10

 

For shame deny that thou bear’st love to any,

Who for thyself art so unprovident,

Grant, if thou wilt, thou art beloved of many,

But that thou none lovest is most evident;

For thou art so possess’d with murderous hate

That ‘gainst thyself thou stick’s not to conspire.

Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate

Which to repair should be thy chief desire.

O, change thy thought, that I may change my mind!

Shall hate be fairer lodged than gentle love?

Be, as thy presence is, gracious and kind,

Or to thyself at least kind hearted prove,

Make thee another self for love of me,

That beauty shall live in thine or thee.

 

Sid  Lubow

 

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        David Basch < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         December 29, 2014 at 12:45:00 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Gay Bard

 

Ian Steere proposed that we apply “objective, independent evidence in an appropriate, non-fictional way” to his work on the Sonnets and that, as a result, he claims that “it offers elegant solutions to otherwise unresolved problems of the poems.” I will leave it to others to decide how well he solves the outstanding problems of the Sonnets.

 

As applying objective tests to my own views of the Sonnets, Ian’s general declaration of my failures seem hardly to hold water. I have asserted that I see in the Sonnets evidence of an allegory concerning the opposing inclinations within man, the good inclination personified as the “lovely” young man, actually an idealized version of himself, and the evil inclination, personified as an irresistible temptress, described as his “femall evill.” As evidence of this content, I referred to the poet’s Sonnet 144 as specifically delineating this. To make this point crystal clear, I present this sonnet immediately below so that readers may judge it on the spot to see if I am inventing anything that is not of the poet:

 

                             144

[1]     T   Wo loues I haue of comfort and dispaire,

[2]          Which like two spirits do sugiest me still,

[3]     The better angell is a man right faire:

[4]     The worser spirit a woman collour'd il.

[5]     To win me soone to hell my femall euill,

 

[6]     Tempteth my better angel from my sight,

[7]     And would corrupt my saint to be a diuel:

[8]     Wooing his purity with her fowle pride.

[9]     And whether that my angel be turn'd finde,

[10]   Suspect I may,yet not directly tell,

[11]   But being both from me both to each friend,

[12]   I gesse one angel in an others hel.

[13]      Yet this shal I nere know but liue in doubt,

[14]      Till my bad angel fire my good one out.

 

I read this narrative as delineating the two opposing forces within him, which the poet refers to as “spirits,” “angels,” and, above all, “loves.” He goes on to tell that these are “both from me” and “to each friend.” Finally, he leaves the outcome of this struggle indefinite, intimating that such a struggle is the content of life.

 

While Ian would refer to this as “rabbinic,” it is hardly exclusive to this sphere. I have been preached to about this all my life and have noted the description of such forces in serious and popular literature and movies and have, all too often, heard many on air varieties of preachers imploring God in prayer to come to the aid of our better nature in facing life.

 

In my reviews of specific sonnets, I detect amplifications of this allegory as the poet expresses his desire to be pure and pious. He is chagrinned at the surprising force of the female tempter. He tells in some of the sonnets that this lust is such that its attraction overpowers her moral and physical faults. And the poet even goes out of his way to caution his readers in Sonnet 20 concerning his love for the “man right faire” to not construe his love for this “Master Mistris” as sexual.

 

Obviously in the format of contributions to our Shakespeare Conference list I cannot go into the detail of each sonnet in which the poet carries on his descriptions concerning the play of these forces and his respect for their power to blind his eyes and to make them swear against the thing they see. The final words of the Sonnets in the last line of the two obviously allegorical poems that suggest that, as these poems are allegories, so are all the poems of the Sonnets, end with the words, “Loues fire heates water, water cooles not loue.” This appears to allude to Song of Solomon 8:7, “Many waters cannot quench love.” This being biblical is a fitting end note for a series of poems that are so grandly high minded.

 

I would note that this proposed allegorical matrix of the Sonnets is flexible enough to accommodate many voices: poems addressing each of his “souls”; poems addressing God, Author of this arrangement (see Sonnets 30 and 31); poems addressing mentors who have lighted and guided his way.

 

Obviously, I also gather support for this view of the Sonnets from the poet’s dramatic works, in which he shows these forces at play in the human struggles depicted. I am surely not the only one who has noted the biblical wisdom imparted in the poet’s dramatic works and, therefore, will see his Sonnets as not discontinuous in its moral affirmations. In all of this, I have suggested the context that the poet has given for his poems.

 

It remains for readers in their studies of these poems to see if these suggestions are, as Ian alleges, “ill-fitting” or whether they ring true and are more compelling than Ian’s attempts at overlaying speculative and largely invented historical settings in the life of the poet to explain them.

 

David Basch

 
 
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