Shakespeare's Sonnets: Critical Essays is the essential Sonnets anthology for our time. This important collection focuses exclusively on contemporary criticism of the Sonnets, reprinting three highly influential essays from the past decade and including sixteen original analyses by leading scholars in the field. The contributors' diverse approaches range from the new historicism to the new bibliography, from formalism to feminism, from reception theory to cultural materialism, and from biographical criticism to queer theory. In addition, James Schiffer's introduction offers a comprehensive survey of 400 years of criticism of these fascinating, enigmatic poems.

part I|60 pages


chapter |58 pages

Reading New Life into Shakespeare's Sonnets

A Survey of Criticism

part II|86 pages

Recent Essays on Shakespeare's Sonnets

chapter |14 pages

Editing as Cultural Formation

The Sexing of Shakespeare's Sonnets

chapter |21 pages

“Incertainties now crown themselves assur'd”

The Politics of Plotting Shakespeare's Sonnets *

part |314 pages

Part Iii New Essays on Shakespeare's Sonnets

chapter |21 pages

Shakespeare's Petrarchism

chapter |13 pages

“I am that I am”

Shakespeare's Sonnets and the Economy of Shame

chapter |19 pages

“A dateless lively heat”

chapter |20 pages

The Name of the Rose

Christian Figurality and Shakespeare's Sonnets

chapter |21 pages

What's the Use?

Or, The Problematic of Economy in Shakespeare's Procreation Sonnets

chapter |20 pages

Sonnets 71–74

Texts and Contexts

chapter |20 pages

The Matter of Inwardness

Shakespeare's Sonnets

chapter |21 pages

“The dyer's hand”

The Reproduction of Coercion and Blot in Shakespeare's Sonnets

chapter |21 pages

Playing “the mother's part”

Shakespeare's Sonnets and Early Modern Codes of Maternity

chapter |21 pages

Be Dark but Not Too Dark

Shakespeare's Dark Lady as a Sign of Color

chapter |19 pages

The Sonnets on Trial

Reconsidering The Portrait of Mr. W. H.

chapter |19 pages

I, You, He, She, and We

On the Sexual Politics of Shakespeare's Sonnets 1

chapter |22 pages

Sex without Issue

Sodomy, Reproduction, and Signification in Shakespeare's Sonnets 1

chapter |20 pages

“That which thou hast done“

Shakespeare's Sonnets and A Lover's Complaint