Ideas of Order: A Close Reading of Shakespeare's Sonnets by Neil L. RudenstineIdeas of Order: A Close Reading of Shakespeare's Sonnets by Neil L. Rudenstine

Ideas of Order: A Close Reading of Shakespeare's Sonnets

byNeil L. Rudenstine

Paperback | November 24, 2015

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An approachable and indispensable guide to Shakespeare's sonnets

Shakespeare's sonnets are the greatest single work of lyric poetry in English, as passionate and daring as any love poems we may ever encounter, and yet they are often misunderstood. Ideas of Order: A Close Reading of Shakespeare's Sonnets reveals an underlying structure within the 154 poems that illuminates the entire work, and provides a guide-for first-time readers as well as scholars-that inspires a new understanding of this complex masterpiece. The Elizabethan scholar and former president of Harvard University Neil L. 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 relation to one another. The sonnets show us a poet in turmoil whose love for a young man-who returns his affections-is utterly transformative, binding him in such an irresistible way that it survives a number of infidelities. And the poet and the young man are drawn into a cycle of lust and betrayal by a "dark lady," a woman with the "power to make love groan."
Rudenstine's reading unveils the relationship between major groups of poems: the expressions of love, the transgressions, the longings, the jealousies, and the reconciliations. This critical analysis is accompanied by the text of all of Shakespeare's sonnets. Accessible and thought-provoking, Ideas of Order is an invaluable companion to this cornerstone of literature.

Neil L. Rudenstine graduated from Princeton University, was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, earned his PhD in English literature at Harvard, and remained on Harvard's faculty until 1968. After two decades as a professor, dean, and provost at Princeton, he served as the president of Harvard University from 1991 to 2001. His several books in...
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Title:Ideas of Order: A Close Reading of Shakespeare's SonnetsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.58 inPublished:November 24, 2015Publisher:Farrar, Straus And GirouxLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0374535736

ISBN - 13:9780374535735

Reviews

Editorial Reviews

"Ideas of Order is a superb guide to the preeminent sequence of lyric poems in the English language.Neil L. Rudenstine is a famously gifted close-reader, wonderfully alert to nuances of tone and meaning in each individual sonnet, but his great achievement in this book is to illuminate the irony, poignancy, and wisdom of Shakespeare's whole astonishing structure." -Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Swerve and Will in the World"It would take a special skill . . . to bring this cycle of poems to life for modern readers, but Neil Rudenstine has done just that in Ideas of Order . . . Rudenstine, a professor of English and later president of Harvard University, offers sensible and engagingly written explications. " -Barton Swaim, The Wall Street Journal"With Neil Rudenstine's extraordinarily perceptive and careful reading of Shakespeare's sonnets, we experience the immense pleasure of the poetry's drama, sequence, art, wit, and radical surprise-- and 'learn to read what silent love hath writ.' " -Jean Strouse, author of Morgan and Alice James"With learning, sensitivity, and penetrating understanding, Neil Rudenstine has educed a credible, coherent narrative from Shakespeare's heterogeneous sonnet sequence, greatly enriching our experience of these incomparable poems. There is nothing in Shakespearean scholarship quite like it, and one can only hope that no one will henceforth teach--or read--Shakespeare's sonnets without relying on the insights of this engrossing study." -Walter Kaiser, Francis Lee Higginson Professor of English emeritus, Harvard University"Neil Rudenstine, author of a powerful study of Sir Philip Sidney, has now written an engaging and lucidly presented overview of Shakespeare's sonnets.This book will attract and inform its intended audience, a wide swath of readers seeking an introduction to these poems." -Heather Dubrow, John D. Boyd, SJ Chair in the Poetic Imagination, Fordham University"Inspiring and thoughtful." -Publishers Weekly