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Rudenstine makes a compelling case for the existence of a dramatic arc within the work through an expert interpretation of distinct groups of sonnets in relationship to one another. The sonnets show us a poet in turmoil who falls for a young man who returns his affections--and the love is utterly transformative, binding him in such an irresistible way that it survives a number of heartbreaks. The poet and young man are equally attracted to a "dark lady," and both become enmeshed with her in an affair of lust and betrayal. Rudenstine's intimate reading explores the relationship between major groups of poems: the expressions of love, the transgressions, the longings, the jealousies, and the reconciliations.

Along with his expert critical narrative, Ideas of Order includes all of Shakespeare's sonnets. This enlightening book is an invaluable companion for Shakespeare neophytes and experienced readers alike"-- "A guide to Shakespeare's sonnets illustrating the narrative underlying the poems" Language: English. Instead, this book focuses on the existing sonnet sequence as essentially an autobiographical artifact, and explores some of the shifting dynamics that such a reading lends itself to.

This is a book that I will come back to. Anyone interested in the mystery that is Shakespeare would enjoy this. I stuck with this book for quite a while, but ultimately I just wasn't that interested in the subject. The idea that the order of Shakespeare's sonnets has meaning, that it actually portrays the arc of a relationship, is interesting, and Rudenstine makes an excellent case. His analysis of the emotional journey seems accurate, and his writing was easy to understand.

The problem is that I finally realized that I simply didn't care enough to keep reading. Dec 13, Paul Christy rated it did not like it. But I found the book's prose harder to understand than Shakespeare's writing. Aug 18, Carl added it Shelves: american , criticism , nonfiction , nonliterature , poetry.

I hadn't thought much about the sequence of the sonnets nor read them all.

Neil L. Rudenstine, "Ideas of Order: A Close Reading of Shakespeare's Sonnets" on Vimeo

Rudenstine writes clearly, arranges forcefully, and makes a reasonably compelling point -- a few analyses seem stretched to fit his thesis, here and there. My biggest takeaways, however, are a the mechanisms of Elizabethan patronage and class were repulsive, b the characters -- surely derived from real people, but I never assume that the depicted characters are drawn directly from life, and I appreciate how Rudenstine I hadn't thought much about the sequence of the sonnets nor read them all. My biggest takeaways, however, are a the mechanisms of Elizabethan patronage and class were repulsive, b the characters -- surely derived from real people, but I never assume that the depicted characters are drawn directly from life, and I appreciate how Rudenstine does not try to go all biographical on this -- are tiresomely far from admirable, and c the overall sonnet set is more annoying than I had ever thought it to be.

Still, I gathered some interesting observations that will prove useful when some of these arise in the literature classes that I teach. Aug 29, Lisa added it Shelves: shakespeare , poetry , , lit-crit. Full review at Floccinaucical. Oct 15, Gayla Bassham rated it liked it Shelves: nyt-sunday-book-review , non-fiction , books-about-books , shakespeare , reads.

I probably would have gotten more out of this if I knew the sonnets better. I remain intrigued by the premise, which is that Shakespeare's sonnets form a sort of story arc; I think the author might have been better served if he had expanded this slim book a little bit and explicated his theories a little more.

A Short Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 13: ‘O that you were yourself’

Nov 24, Gabe rated it liked it. Nice to have a very detailed look at the sonnets in order and a strong argument for them to have a set order. Although the writing was dry and the conclusion ended abruptly. Sep 21, Mikelala rated it it was amazing. Thanks for this book. Really love it. Can I share this book link on this website? I am an Author in this websites.

I'm being generous with my stars as per usual. Neil L Rudenstine is a distinguished professor whose life work involved teaching the Bard. That's my excuse for generosity. That said, I'm grateful I picked this up as a library loan. It would have been a grand waste of my money otherwise. The book is packaged rather deceptively.

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Only the first two-thirds is original content. The back third is a reprinting of the sonnets in relatively large font. Also as he a I'm being generous with my stars as per usual. No doubt this is the reason for the book.

A Journal for Critical Debate

While the argument does have some limited merit, it places the emphasis from the poems themselves to sequence in which they are presented, a sequence that may not be Shakespeare's intent. Even if it had been, the argument for a single controlling narrative doesn't always hold. Oct 14, Jennifer rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: to all who like shakespear. Shelves: owned-books.


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May 04, Bill Connington rated it really liked it. A clear and understandable reading of Shakespeare's sonnets. The author takes a "traditional" view. What makes the book unique is he sees the sonnets not as separate poems, but as an interconnected story--he conceives of them as chapters in an ongoing narrative.

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Jul 02, Monica Eppinger rated it it was amazing Shelves: new-jersey-council-for-t-he-humanit. A nice intro to the sonnets or a chance to read them again with fresh eyes. Eisenstein has an engaging style. May 06, Mt. Lebanon Public Library added it Shelves: april , cindy.

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