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How can we look afresh at Shakespeare as a writer of sonnets? What new light might they shed on his career, personality, and sexuality? Shakespeare wrote sonnets for at least thirty years, not only for himself, for professional reasons, and for those he loved, but also in his plays, as prologues, as epilogues, and as part of their poetic texture. This ground-breaking book assembles all of Shakespeare's sonnets in their probable order of composition. An inspiring introduction debunks long-established biographical myths about Shakespeare's sonnets and proposes new insights about how and why he wrote them. Explanatory notes and modern English paraphrases of every poem and dramatic extract illuminate the meaning of these sometimes challenging but always deeply rewarding witnesses to Shakespeare's inner life and professional expertise. Beautifully printed and elegantly presented, this volume will be treasured by students, scholars, and every Shakespeare enthusiast.