Helen Vendler, widely regarded as our most accomplished interpreter of poetry, here serves as an incomparable guide to some of the best-loved poems in the English language.
In detailed commentaries on Shakespeare's 154 sonnets, Vendler reveals previously unperceived imaginative and sylistic features of the poems, pointing out not only new levels of import in particular lines, but also the ways in which the four parts of each sonnet work together to enact emotion and create dynamic effect. The commentaries--presented alongside the original and modernized texts--offer fresh perspectives on the individual poems, and, taken together provide a full picture of Shakespeare's technique as a working poet.
Vendler's understanding of the sonnets informs her readings on an accompanying compact disk, which is bound with the book. This recorded presentation of a selection of the poems, in giving aural form to Shakespeare's words, heightens our awareness of voice in lyric, and adds the dimension of sound to poems too often registered merely as written words.
For more information about this book,
Helen Vendler, and Shakespeare, visit http://www.hup.harvard.edu/features/venart/home.html