Shakespeare's sonnets were first published in 1609, with a second edition in 1640. Although little is known about how they were received by early readers, over the years they have been the cause of almost infinite puzzlement, speculation, and delight. Over the course of the semester we will read all 154 sonnets, at the rate of approximately ten per week. All students will be expected to participate actively in seminar discussions. Each student will present one informal and one formal oral seminar report.
Alan H. Nelson is Professor Emeritus in the Department of English at the University of California, Berkeley. His specializations are paleography, bibliography, and the reconstruction of the literary life and times of medieval and Renaissance England from documentary sources. He is author of Monstrous Adversary: The Life of Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford (Liverpool University Press, 2003). He is editor of Cambridge, Records of Early English Drama, 2 vols. (1989). He is one of four editors of Oxford, Records of Early English Drama, 2 vols. (2004). He is co-editor, with John R. Elliott, Jr., of Inns of Court, 3 vols., Records of Early English Drama (2010). He is co-editor with William Ingram (University of Michigan) of the website The Parish of St Saviour, Southwark, 1550-1650 and has contributed essays to Shakespeare Documented, a project sponsored by the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. Instructor Bio
Faculty web site: http://english.berkeley.edu/profiles/96