Students from Yale-NUS selected five items to illuminate an encounter with Shakespeare’s Sonnets
A choice of 5 items following our journey through the collection of sonnets by William Shakespeare (1564-1616) at the Bodleian Library
- Shake-speares Sonnets. Neuer before imprinted.At London : By G. Eld for T[homas]. T[horpe]. and are to be solde by William Aspley. 1609.
This was the first edition, while Shakespeare was alive.
- Poems, written by W. Shakespeare Printed at London by Tho. Cotes, and are to be to be sold by Iohn Benson, dwelling in St. Dunstans Church-yard. 1640
The editor has added titles to the sonnets. This sets up your expectation of what the poem is about. We noticed that in the first edition the sonnets are just numbered, with no titles.
- Sonnet 57 (2016). Michael Hurley, Titivilus Press, Memphis, Tennessee, 2016
Black type with a coloured half border, 27 cm. height. On the verso is a reproduction of the Droeshout portrait of Shakespeare, from the First Folio edition of his plays.
Before we saw the first edition, this is what we thought a Shakespeare book ‘should’ look like, with old-fashioned type and decorative borders.
This and the other Sonnets printed in 2016 are part of a collection formed by the Bodleian inviting Shakespeare’s Sonnets from printers around the world.
- Sonnet 61 (2016). Linocut by Rosie Fairfax-Cholmeley, 2016
This combines image and the text, all printed from linocut. The words of the sonnet are incorporated into a beautiful image.
- Sonnet 110 (2016). Pixel Press, Stoke Newington, London, 2016. A moveable. The words of the dedication and a closed eye are seen at first, but when you move the tab, the eye opens and the words of the sonnet appear in windows.
As part of our visit we printed our own ‘Four Sonnets’ at the Bodleian Bibliographical Press