OLD SAYBROOK — A reading and discussion of nine sonnets by William Shakespeare will be held at the Acton Library in Old Saybrook on Thursday, May 19, at 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend and participate in the reading, which will be moderated by Jerome Wilson, ValleyNewsNow.com contributor and a lifetime lover of Shakespeare’s sonnets.
Shakespeare is much in the news on both sides of the Atlantic this year since it was the 400th anniversary of his death on April 23, 1616. Interestingly, it is widely believed that he was born 52 years previously in 1564, also on on April 23. His date of birth is not a certainty simply because there is no record of his birth, but his baptism in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England, was recorded on April 26, 1564. In the sixteenth century, baptism generally took place a few days after the actual birth, so scholars acknowledge April 23, 1564 as Shakespeare’s date of birth.
There was a full page article on Shakespeare in the the New York Times on April 23, 2016, and similarly, there have been numerous celebrations of the 400th anniversary of his death in the United Kingdom. Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist.
Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 — one of his most famous and many would say, most beautiful — will be among the sonnets read and discussed at the reading. It begins:
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,
Thou art more lovely and more temperate,
Rough winds do shake the darling bud of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Also, included in the reading will be Sonnet 116, which begins:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments; love is not love
Which alters when its alteration finds,
Or bends to the remover to remove.
Nine sonnets by Shakespeare will be read and discussed at the reading. At the reading, Wilson will first read the selected sonnet in full. Next, there will be a general discussion by those attending regarding the sonnet just read. Then, Wilson will once again read the full sonnet.
Copies of the nine sonnets that will be read and discussed at the reading are available at the Old Saybrook library, and those attending can bring their copies of the sonnets with them to the discussion.
In total, Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets in his lifetime, not to his mention tragedies, comedies and histories. The sonnets that will be discussed at the Old Lyme library meeting on May 19 will be: 2, 18, 30, 33, 73, 106, 116, 130 and 138.