Skip to main content

R419 Spring 2019 The Sonnets of William Shakespeare

Course number : R419 Spring 2019   
« back to classes page
R419 Spring 2019 The Sonnets of William Shakespeare
Mondays, 11:50–1:15, Mar. 25–Apr. 29
Six sessions
Instructor: Karen Miles

The 154 sonnets of Shakespeare tackle big issues, particularly the tension between ideal love and love as we actually experience it. This tension then produces a second tension between poetry that beautifully depicts ideal examples of love and poetry that describes its gritty realities. In discussing the themes and artistry of the sonnets, we will also explore questions about the collection itself. The sonnets can be and are usually read as discrete lyrical reflections without much regard for the order in which they appear in the text. When they are read in their numerical order, however, a story emerges involving a poet, his young male friend, his mistress, and a rival poet or two. In tracing this story, we will also consider the extent to which the meaning of many a sonnet shifts when it is read in the specific context of the developing story. The recommended text is the edition of the sonnets from the Folger Shakespeare Library, edited by Barbara Mowat and Paul Werstine.
Karen Miles holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in French literature. She taught at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside before becoming a program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since retiring and joining OLLI, she has taught courses on Shakespeare's sonnets and his plays, Richard II, Henry IV Parts One and Two, and Henry V.

Class Details

6 Sessions
Weekly - Mon

United Christian Parish

Karen Miles 

Class Fee: 


Schedule Information

Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s)
3/25/2019 - 4/29/2019 Weekly - Mon 11:50 AM - 1:15 PM Reston, United Christian Parish  Map, Room: Room 117 Karen Miles 

  OLLI on Facebook          OLLI on You Tube