Notes on Posting Shakespeare’s Sonnets

2013 01 04 I’ve now posted nearly a third of the Sonnets: a few dozen Fair Love sonnets, several Dark Lady sonnets. I had background materials posted online since 1995. Any minute now I’ll start the actual readings, providing a menu as I go.
I recommend that you be familiar with all of Shakespeare’s Sonnets and my background basics before reading my readings.

K. had published the Sonnets, starting back in 1995, so I could discuss my reading of the Sonnets as a meta=oxymoron, a set of paradoxical pairs — male female, light dark, noble common, orthodox heretical. I was still mounting the Sonnets, had not yet filled the files with interpretations, readings, notes, though the broad points were all present in a set of introductions, when the fed censored one folder of one of my six domains, destroying all of my domains as by-kill. 4,000 text files (and as many again graphics files) obliterated. The FBI confiscated my computers. When they returned them a year and a half later they were no longer networked, the synergy was gone: and my business was destroyed: I was all but destroyed. Hypocritical kleptocrats have always been good at subverting their critics, especially critics who show a way out: as my FLEX internet of 1970 was intended to do.

Anyway, I’ve restored some of the introductory modules as posts here. Now I’ll restore the Sonnet files, one sonnet per post, in the order in which our single source text, Thorpe’s, presents them. The Fair Love Sonnets are ready to go: still it will take a while to mount them, one at a time. The Dark Lady Sonnets will follow, still in Thorpe’s order. Then my readings will follow, illustrating the introductions and general background discussions already present.

The 1609 edition is our editor’s sole source for the Sonnets, still I got my text from here and there: many of the sonnets I transcribed myself. Then, well more than a decade ago, online editions appeared: and I was able to copy someone else’s typing. I’ve proofed mine and theirs against several of my print versions: my college text, a Pelican paper back … The last dozen or two sonnets I have not yet copied onto my hard drive: I’ll be looking online again when I get to them. Now I’m posting them again, need to edit them afresh. Currently I’m taking text for some of the dark lady sonnets from
If you notice a typo, a mistake, let me know immediately. Departures from Thorpe’s text are errors (as indeed Thorpe’s text too may be). Proof me on sonnet #s too please, mistakes can come in any form.
If we had God’s manuscript for the Bible then theoretically one copier of perfect intelligence and a perfect attention span and infinite time for proofing could copy an accurate Bible: in the meantime we’re stuck with mistakes breeding mistakes.
In time I intend my edition to be perfect, perfect from Thorpe. I wish I had Shakespeare’s MSs.

I sometimes use a scholar’s trick of inserting false data into posts, a sure trap for plagiarizers. With Shakespeare, any departures from approved text is accidental: a typo, an outright mistake …

Final couplet. My current HTML code thus far here is failing to indent the couplet cap of each sonnet. I’ve used different tricks over the decades since first posting them for interpretation. Right now I just inserted a space for lines thirteen and fourteen. No important perhaps, the heroic couplet isolates itself stylistically, thematically, maybe it doesn’t need typographic style too.
2013 01 02 Now I’m inserting two spaces. Some have one, some two, some none.
In the 1990s my HTML printed the sonnets with a border around the poem. This blog isn’t displaying the border. Poverty renders me helpless, buy me a domain and I’ll fix it.

scrapbook: Some points I’ve made twice, or more, others I haven’t gotten to yet. Given time I’ll streamline it.

Thomas Thorpe’s edition of 1609 is our only source for the Sonnets: our only “authority.” We use Thorpe’s order.
Shakespeare may have intended a particular order, Thorpe may have known it, may have followed it; or not. We don’t know. Any of us is privileged to guess at alternate orders. My reading remains my reading if you shuffle the sonnets, read them in any order: though some goupings will naturally reestablish themselves: the Fair Love group, the Dark Lady group … the first seventeen on marriage and procreation … This pair here, that group there …

The Sonnets that we have thanks to Thorpe divide naturally into two main groups: The Fair Love group major, the Dark Lady group minor. There are subgroups within those. The first seventeen share the subject of preserving value via reproduction.

There are a couple of odd ball sonnets, Sonnet 119 has already been singled out. A couple toward the end of Thorpe’s order also strike me as odd: immature, perhaps composed earlier.

127 isn’t strictly a “sonnet.” Three quatrains and a couplet: a truncated sonnet. The bulk of the Sonnets are consistently “Shakespearian sonnet” in form. But:
“sonnet” in the Sixteenth Century meant a short poem. Cervantes “sonnets” in Don Quixote bear no prosodic resemblance to Dante’s or to Petrarch’s or to Shakespeare’s sonnets. Donne’s Songs and Sonets show a variety of forms. Semantics should aid understanding, not strangle the wits.
And don’t fret about spelling. Shakespeare didn’t. We spell “sonnet” with two n’s, but a single “n” also has precedent.
Spelling was not a big deal to Shakeseare: we have three of his autographs, each spelling differently! Thomas Jefferson said he didn’t trust any man who knew only one way to spell a word.

still scrap gathering, I’ll edit, reduce, momentarily.

First I resurrect the bulk of the set of my 1997 files of basic Shakespeare background for reading the Sonnets. Then I’ll resurrect the actual readings of individual sonnets I’d gotten started on (so we can see them in their landscape), though first I’ll read a key one: gotten to in the 1960s before the grad class but not online, not till 2012.

2012 08 I wasted nearly a decade, early 1960s to early 1970s trying to communicate my reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnets to my graduate school English department. In 1967, 1968 I “taught” my reading to upperclass English majors, my “students.” Around 1997 I tried putting my thesis online: at

It was bad enough that the professors didn’t betray a clue that they saw what I was getting it. With the students too, I didn’t even get parroting back! Is my reading unintelligible? Untrue? Or is a life-time of sabotage as well as non-comprehension evidence of something else? something only too familiar?
Religious hypocrisy has transformed into a secular and intellectual, cultural hypocrisy which has sterilized all of civilization’s reproductive institutions: universities, media …
The non-communicants monopolize the certificates of communication.

Once underway I’ll put this quote to good employment: … “the monoculture of global taste—is about uniformity and control. Indeed, the monocultures of the field and the monocultures of our global economy nourish each other in crucial ways. The two are complexly intertwined expressions of the same Apollonian desire, our impulse, I mean, to elevate the universal over the particular or local, the abstract over the concrete, the ideal over the real, the made over the natural. The spirit of Apollo celebrates “the One,” Plutarch wrote, “denying the many and abjuring multiplicity.” Against Dionysus’s “variability” and “wantonness” he poses the power of “uniformity [and] orderliness.” Apollo is the god, then, of monoculture, whether of plants or of people.”
Pollan, Michael, The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World, 2011

2016 05 14 I suspend the menus and menus of menus till I can complete them, even half way, if ever.

on Shakespeare’s Sonnets


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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