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What better way to welcome the darling buds of May than to dip into Shakespeare's Sonnets with Dr Richard Moore on Friday, May 4?
During this study morning, we shall consider some of the mysteries surrounding the sonnets.
Who was the dedicatee? Why may Shakespeare not have wished for their printing? Are they, as one critic suggests, parodies of the 300-year old Petrarchan tradition, rather than seriously intended?
Who was the rival poet? Might it have been Christopher Marlowe or even Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex? How much of The Passionate Pilgrim is by Shakespeare and what secrets lie behind its later re-printing?
However one views the sonnets, they certainly touch on universal and timeless issues. Love, time, value and reputation are key themes, as is beauty and its transience.
Many critics think that Shakespeare deliberately shrouds identities and even gender in mystery so that often we do not know whether the poem is addressed or refers to a man or woman. Sometimes there is a sense of androgyny, of a master who is also a mistress.
The poems simultaneously reveal and conceal, expose and hide, guide and mislead. No one can fully solve all the puzzles the sonnets suggest, but we can at least begin to try.
Come and be enlightened, and perhaps also slightly perplexed, as we try to untangle some of the mysteries. Whatever we discover, it will be an intriguing study journey and the poems will grant their own literary rewards.
The study morning will take place from 10am to noon, at Berwick Voluntary Centre, Tweed Street, Berwick. All are welcome and no previous knowledge is assumed. Tickets cost £6 and refreshments will be provided.
To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01289 303254.