A Well-Wishing Adventure: Lunchtime Sonnets

William Shakespeare’s Complete Sonnets I-CLIV 

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Most of us have heard at least one or two of Shakespeare’s more famous sonnets, such as  “Let me not to marriage of true minds admit impediments…” or “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Yet there are 152 more sonnets in the collection handed down to us. So what do the rest of the Sonnets say?

Don’t take someone else’s word for it – read them for yourself, in this year-long lunchtime discussion series on Shakespeare’s complete sonnets. Our aim is to read and talk through all of the Sonnets. The only thing better than discussions about Shakespeare is to discuss them over lunch! Details below.

But first, to set the stage, we have many questions. Do the Sonnets say the same thing in 154 different ways? Or do they each illuminate a different ‘corner of being’? Do the Sonnets as a whole hang together, unfolding one or more interrelated themes? Or are they separate, having no connection with each other at all? Might we learn about Shakespeare’s way of thinking, and our own, if we allow ourselves to slowly consider and digest the whole of the Sonnet cycle, instead of a few randomly or separately? What is the real marrow of the Sonnets, their pit and pith? Can they help us understand some of the fundamental questions – that is, how they arise for us in the conflicts of our experience – questions such as those concerning love? What kind of insight, what kind of growth in sensibility and understanding, will we acquire if we actually do the work ourselves of reading and conversing through the Sonnets with love and steady attention? These are just some of the questions that animate and excite us as we approach Shakespeare’s Sonnets this coming year.

By allowing questions to arise from our confrontation with the Sonnets, we will try to find out what Shakespeare’s sonnets might have to say to us. We will avoid the use of the common literary critical apparatus and outside commentaries, in favor of a direct, naive reading of the text, honoring the first, fresh approach to the language and labor of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Both the first time reader of Sonnets and the more experienced will find this approach a refreshing and useful alternative to the usual approaches to Shakespeare.

Details of Course: 

When: Wednesdays 12 noon-1pm

Start Date: January 8th, 2020

End Date: December 2020

Prep time: weekly reading assignment is three sonnets per session.

Where: The Pearl, in San Antonio, Texas – specific restaurant or location will change, tba

First Session: Sterneswirth, at the Hotel Emma @ The Pearl  

Duration of Seminar: Approximately one hour

Cost: Free

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