The Sonnets a psychoanalytical perspectiveHi I recently got to proof read this book I never studied the Sonnets in school or college we looked at Sonnet 18 as part of a historical look at poetry...

The Sonnets a psychoanalytical perspective

Hi I recently got to proof read this book I never studied the Sonnets in school or college we looked at Sonnet 18 as part of a historical look at poetry but thats it after reading this book I can understand why! the sonnets are very strange and complex and bring up a lot of difficult issues to talk about.(not just a bunch of love poems as I had thought)
Please check out this excerpt from the book and let me know your thoughts on studying the sonnets and if you find this interesting. The authors are looking for comments and feedback for the next printing of the book.

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Shakespeare's sonnets are a journey through the various stages and growth in love.  In the early sonnets, for instance, Shakespeare is more self-centered in his love than he is in his later sonnets in which he arrives at the essence of love in, for instance, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?"

Dr. Erich Fromm wrote The Art of Loving in which he traces the stages of love in a person.  These stages are evident in Shakespeare's sonnets:  selfish love, brotherly love, love of another, spiritual love.

Sources:'s sonnets

The Art of Loving, Eric Fromm

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is all very fascinating.  I have studied Shakespeare for years and know that his ideas have been gleaned from other authors and makes sense since all ideas come from reading a lot of other people's stories, myths, legends, news, and history and then coming up with a new twist on it all.  The sexual overtones are nothing new either.  Afterall, Shakespeare's themes are universal because we are all still interested in them:  the paranormal, sex, love, revenge, greed, honor, ambition, incest, heartbreak, envy, life, death, family relationships.  It's what makes us tick.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do think the sonnets are more complex than people give them credit for.  All of Shakespeare's plays are complex, so we should not be so surprised. Even the ideas of love, boys and girls, and wooing, are complicated in real life and even moreso in Shakespeare.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Can't all literature be read from a psychoanalytical perspective? Something had to inspire or drive the author to write the love poem or the horror story or the Great American Novel.

bollygirl | Student

Hi Amy and Linda. Yes! I believe you're right we can examine any text using the theories of psychoanalysis and it doesn't take away from the unique life experiences of the author or turn his craft into anything less authentic or beautiful. ( plus the universal themes Amy noted are all also covered by psychoanalysis - the stuff of life indeed) I think there are a few reasons this book was written but the authors could tell you more... and I'd love to get them online for us to chat with. first the Sonnets in general are rarely discussed and only a few are "popular." Also , believe it or not, there is a lot of debate about wether the sonnets are personal and meaningful at all, or wether they are simply exercises in language written for the joy and beauty of their form: Written on commission or as exercises and experimentation by the author practicing his craft. The book attempts to theorize about what the sonnets say about the authors psyche and to reveal to us new facets of the popular and neglected sonnets alike; it also seeks to teach us about the basic and powerful tenants of freudian psychology and analysis that although they are now common ideas are frequently misunderstood and were not even available to us a scant 100 years ago. Do you have a favorite Sonnet?? which one? why?