Shakespeare’s Sonnets: Poems for Every Time, Place, and Season


The name William Shakespeare conjures up sublime theatrical productions, with titanic, tragic heroes battling their destinies; evil villains preying on the vulnerable; doomed heroines confronting their undeserved fate; protean comic fools educating their masters; historical figures of stature; mismatched and star-crossed lovers; assorted forests and islands, some enchanted, some not; and grand reconciliation suitable for a snowy winter’s night of telling tales. But we sometimes forget that the celebrated Bard also wrote poetry of supreme excellence. His sonnet sequence of 154 poems constitutes some of the greatest lyric verse in the English language, and the compendium as a whole has intrigued scholars and readers for more than four centuries.

A spiritual autobiography of extraordinary breadth, depth, and eloquence, the collection of sonnets charts the splintered odyssey of an expansive mind attuned to the undulating rhythms of life as they are reflected in searing experiences of love, lust, and betrayal. In the time allotted us, we will consider representative sonnets, with an eye toward discerning their themes, structure, interconnections, and progression. No prior knowledge of Shakespeare is necessary. Just read the assigned sonnets, think about them, and join the conversation.

Instructor: Howard Einsohn

Dates: Tuesday – April 28 (4:00 – 6:00 p.m.)

Tuesdays –May 5, 12, and 19

Time: 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Location: The Wasch Center - 51 Lawn Ave, Middletown, CT 06459

Cost: $135

HOWARD EINSOHN has advanced degrees from the University of Connecticut, Rutgers University, and Wesleyan University.  From 1974 to 2018, he was affiliated with Middlesex Community College (Middletown, CT) in various capacities, most notably as the Director of Learning Resources and as an adjunct instructor in English, teaching composition and literature classes.  Over the years, he has also written and published on the English dramatist and engaged public intellectual, Bernard Shaw.  Now at Wesleyan’s Institute for Lifelong Learning, he offers courses on Flannery O’Connor, Emily Dickinson, and Henrik Ibsen, among others.  He looks forward to continuing at the Institute for as long as possible.