Monday, November 01, 2010

Ready To Get Angry, Sonnet Lovers?

I won't begin to summarize Paul Edmondson's blog post entitled "Extinguishing Shakespeare's Sonnets", you really need to go read it for yourself. In it he reviews Don Paterson's Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets: A New Commentary. And, well..... he didn't like it. And I can see why.

A few snippets to get your dander up before you go read the original. And remember, these are Paterson's words, not Edmondson's:

‘This isn’t a great poem’ (Sonnet 2);

‘Another dull one’ (Sonnet 10);

‘Not much to see here, folks’ (Sonnet 41);

‘I’d cheerfully send this one into the unanthologised dark‘ (Sonnet 68);

... and so on. That's only a brief snip of the examples given in the post, which in itself is only a summary of the larger work. I think Paul actually shows a great deal of restraint in his view - he sounds more sad than angry, that a new collection like this could've been cause for celebration, and instead it is just a bitter disappointment.

(Somebody hold catkins back! The man's a doctor, he's got access to sharp instruments.)


kj said...

Paterson seems to be itching to have the same applied to him:

"This isn’t a great chapter" (Chapter 2);

"Another dull one in Paterson's book" (Chapter 10);

"Not much to see in Paterson's book, folks!"

"I’d cheerfully send Paterson's book into the unanthologised dark."

A bad review is great fun—but when at least 250 years of good reviews are against you (the sonnets didn't get much critical attention for the first 150 years), well, watch out, lest "purposes mistook / Fall on the inventors' heads!"


JM said...

Seems too much a self-indulgent,sensationalized attempt to sell a book by saying something "new" and "controversial". And his approach, when it's not completely mundane in its commentary, leans toward the crass. Fortunately, for us, Edmondson more accurately reviewed the reviewer than the reviewer reviewed what he was reviewing.
I'm tired and bored with Paterson already, just from the litany of crap Edmondson was able to quickly glean.
Thanks to Paul. You've saved me some money.

william sutton said...

I don't want to read it but i must...will nicht'll be fun I'll send him skimming across the room like he did with Vendler.