1. Introduction: Shakespeare’s Perfectly Wilde Sonnets.
Appendix: The Matter of the Sonnets.
"Dympna Callaghan provides an informed but most accessible guide to Shakespeare's Sonnets, demystifying and illuminating these enthralling poems in equal measure. She examines them in relation to the conventions and understandings of their own time, to show how they continue to speak so powerfully to ours." Richard Dutton, Ohio State University
“Callaghan makes an enduring contribution to scholarship on some of the most accomplished yet enigmatic lyric verse in the English language.”
“It presents the ongoing issues clearly, and takes a stand … .Callaghan’s intelligent and concise introduction, demonstrate that … criticism is not tired at all.” Notes and Queries
- Provides a concise overview of the central issues and critical responses to Shakespeare's sonnets.
- Looks at the themes, images and structure of the sonnets, as well as the social and historical circumstances surrounding their creation.
- Explores the biographical mystery of the identities of the characters addressed.
- Examines the intangible aspects of each sonnet, such as eroticism and imagination.
- A helpful appendix offers a summary of each poem with descriptions of key literary figures.