Did Shakespeare Want To Suppress His Sonnets?

First published 400 years ago, Shakespeare's sonnets might never have been put to press had it been left to the author to decide things. As Clinton Heylin, the author of the new book So Long as Men Can Breathe: The Untold Story of Shakespeare's Sonnets, explains, just as Bob Dylan's basement tapes were never intended for a wide audience, such was the case with Shakespeare's sonnets.

"In both [Dylan and Shakespeare's] cases, they were killing time and at the same time dealing with huge personal issues in a private way, which they never conceived of coming out publicly," Heylin says.

Listen to or read the full story here.

Here is the book mentioned: So Long as Men Can Breathe: The Untold Story of Shakespeare's Sonnets

Tags: homosexuality, love, poems, poetry, shakespeare, sonnets

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for this!
This line of argument is not particularly new. Shakespeare was uninterested in publishing any of his work during his lifetime, and left no posthumous provision for it. I am not sure that "suppress" is the right word in this case. Emily Dickinson also did not seek publication of her poems, and probably for the same reason. For both Shakespeare and Dickinson, poetry was a substitute for a journal/diary. Probably, most of Shakespeare's acquaintances did not know about his sonnets, or knew that he had written some as a side activity.
Thanks David. Good to know. Of course, a journalist would have to choose the word "suppress" don'tcha know! Sounds more scandelous than "Did Shakespeare want to keep his sonnets private?"


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