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
ByJames Schiffer

part II|86 pages

Recent Essays on Shakespeare's Sonnets

chapter |14 pages

Editing as Cultural Formation

The Sexing of Shakespeare's Sonnets
ByPeter Stallybrass

chapter |24 pages

The Scandal of Shakespeare's Sonnets

ByMargreta de Grazia

chapter |21 pages

“Incertainties now crown themselves assur'd”

The Politics of Plotting Shakespeare's Sonnets*
ByHeather Dubrow

chapter |24 pages

The Silent Speech of Shakespeare's Sonnets

ByGeorge T. Wright

part |314 pages

Part Iii New Essays on Shakespeare's Sonnets

chapter |21 pages

Shakespeare's Petrarchism

ByGordon Braden

chapter |13 pages

“I am that I am”

Shakespeare's Sonnets and the Economy of Shame
ByLars Engle

chapter |19 pages

“A dateless lively heat”

ByJoyce Sutphen

chapter |20 pages

The Name of the Rose

Christian Figurality and Shakespeare's Sonnets
ByLisa Freinkel

chapter |21 pages

What's the Use?

Or, The Problematic of Economy in Shakespeare's Procreation Sonnets
ByPeter C. Herman

chapter |20 pages

Sonnets 71–74

Texts and Contexts
ByJoseph Pequigney

chapter |20 pages

The Matter of Inwardness

Shakespeare's Sonnets
ByMichael Schoenfeldt

chapter |21 pages

“The dyer's hand”

The Reproduction of Coercion and Blot in Shakespeare's Sonnets
ByOlga L. Valbuena

chapter |21 pages

Playing “the mother's part”

Shakespeare's Sonnets and Early Modern Codes of Maternity
ByNaomi J. Miller

chapter |21 pages

Be Dark but Not Too Dark

Shakespeare's Dark Lady as a Sign of Color
ByMarvin Hunt

chapter |19 pages

The Sonnets on Trial

Reconsidering The Portrait of Mr. W. H.
ByRebecca Laroche

chapter |19 pages

I, You, He, She, and We

On the Sexual Politics of Shakespeare's Sonnets1
ByBruce R. Smith

chapter |22 pages

Sex without Issue

Sodomy, Reproduction, and Signification in Shakespeare's Sonnets1
ByValerie Traub

chapter |20 pages

“That which thou hast done“

Shakespeare's Sonnets and A Lover's Complaint
ByIlona Bell