a photo of a bowl of leaves and a book of poems

Speakers & Panels


Lazaridis Hall, Tom Patterson Theatre
Friday, September 25
10:30 am to 12:00 pm

All the Sonnets of Shakespeare, Part 1: “My name is Will”

Professor Sir Stanley Wells and Dr. Paul Edmondson of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust published a highly original book, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, in 2004. Their approach to these remarkable poems has continued to develop and they have produced a ground-breaking new study, All the Sonnets of Shakespeare, which, in association with Cambridge University Press, is receiving its launch as part of the 2020 Meighen Forum.

Parts One and Two can be enjoyed as a pair or individually.

Edmondson and Wells’s entirely fresh and original approach aims – for the first time – to present Shakespeare’s sonnets in chronological order, rather than in the order in which they were printed in 1609. This has profound implications for the ways in which we think about Shakespeare as a writer of sonnets. All the Sonnets of Shakespeare challenges the traditional, biographical readings of these poems and encourages new thinking about their relationship to Shakespeare’s life, his artistry, and his personality.

In addition, Edmondson and Wells’s important new book chronologically intersperses the sonnets published in 1609 with Shakespeare’s “other” sonnets – those that form part of the fabric of his plays – so far as modern scholarship permits. What does the sonnet form mean to Shakespeare? What do his sonnets tell us about his public and private lives? How intimate are they?

This fascinating exploration will be illuminated by readings of the sonnets by Festival actors.

Professor Sir Stanley Wells CBE is General Editor of the Oxford and Penguin editions of Shakespeare. His many books include Shakespeare: A Life in Drama (1994); Shakespeare For All Time (2002); Shakespeare & Co. (2006); Shakespeare, Sex, and Love (2010); and Great Shakespeare Actors: Burbage to Branagh (2015). He is Professor Emeritus, University of Birmingham, and Honorary President of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Dr. Paul Edmondson is Head of Research for The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. His books include Shakespeare: Ideas in Profile (2014); The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography (co-edited with Stanley Wells, 2015); and Finding Shakespeare’s New Place: an archaeological biography (with Kevin Colls and William Mitchell, 2016). He is a priest in the Church of England.

Support for The Meighen Forum is generously provided by Kelly & Michael Meighen and The T.R. Meighen Family Foundation.

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