I'm nearing the end of my three and a half years of Shakespeare study. February 2013 was month #38. This month I read Shakespeare’s poems. This was the order in which I read them:
- Venus And Adonis
- The Rape Of Lucrece
- The Phoenix And The Turtle
- The Passionate Pilgrim (including Sonnets To Sundry Notes Of Music, which this Yale book sets as a separate poem)
- A Lover’s Complaint (which may or may not have been written by Shakespeare)
- Shakespeare’s Poems And Sonnets edited and with an introduction by Harold Bloom - This is a volume in the Bloom’s Major Poets series. It is a collection critical views on a few of the sonnets and poems. The poems discussed in this book are The Phoenix And Turtle, The Rape Of Lucrece and Venus And Adonis. Sometimes the excerpts seem too short, as if we’re getting a taste of a thought, rather than the full thought. Regarding The Phoenix And Turtle, G. Wilson Knight writes, “The Turtle-Dove is a normal Shakespearian symbol of love-constancy, as at I Henry VI, II, ii, 30-1” (page 74). Murray Copland writes, “Shakespeare appears to have called his poem The Phoenix and Turtle. That is, the subject is one thing, not two” (page 76). Regarding The Rape Of Lucrece, Katherine Eisaman Maus writes, “She turns to a representation of the Trojan war for relief, not because it offers her the possibility of consolation, but because its novelty inspires her with new ways to describe and understand, and thus to experience her despair” (page 85). Regarding Venus And Adonis, Richard Lanham writes, “Venus really creates with her own praise the Adonis who can represent beauty. She creates herself with her own praise. She creates the significance of Adonis’s death by her descriptive sorrow. She creates everything. Her eloquence dominates the poem” (page 95). Published in 1999.
(Next month is the sonnets.)