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Lectures from the Allen Room and the Wertheim Study: “Dressing old words new” : Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets


April 3, 2014

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The questions enlivening Shakespeare's sonnets have excited and challenged readers and critics ever since these extraordinary poems were written.  For example, why did someone whom we think of today primarily as a playwright compose non-dramatic poetry?  Why did he choose the sonnet for much of that poetry, and how did he adapt that familiar form?  What--if anything--do these poems tell us about Shakespeare himself, especially about the controversial debates surrounding his own sexuality? And why are the poems themselves so haunting?  This presentation will include both the sonnets written independently of the plays and those incorporated within some of Shakespeare's drama. 

Professor Dubrow will be joined by Matthew Lillo, who will read a selection of the sonnets.   A member of Actors' Equity Association, he has performed in the companies of several American Shakespeare festivals.  He has also appeared in productions Off Broadway in New York and across the country on various national tours.  He is currently working towards a PhD in English at Fordham University.

Heather Dubrow, John D. Boyd, SJ, Chair in the Poetic Imagination at Fordham University, has published six scholarly books, including two on Shakespeare, and an edition of As You Like It, as well as numerous articles on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature and on teaching.  Wearing her other hat as poet, she is the author of a collection of poems entitled Forms and Hollows, two chapbooks, and poetry in such journals as Prairie Schooner, Southern Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review.   She is director of Fordham's Poets Out Loud reading series.