Not for nothing is William Shakespeare considered possibly the most famous writer in history; his works have had a lasting effect on culture, vocabularies, and art. His plays contain some of our most well-known lines (how often have you heard the phrase 'To be or not to be'?), yet whilst his poems may often feel less familiar than his plays they have also seeped into our cultural history (who has not heard of ''Shall I compare thee to a summer's day'?). In this Very Short Introduction Jonathan Post introduces all of Shakespeare's poetry: the Sonnets; the two great narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece; A Lover's Complaint; and The Phoenix and Turtle. Describing Shakespeare's double identity as both poet and playwright, in conjunction with several of his contemporaries, Post evaluates the reciprocal advantages as well as the different strategies and strains that came with writing for the stage and the page. Tackling the debates surrounding the disputed authorship of Shakespeare's poems, he also considers the printing history of Shakespeare's canon, and the genres favoured by the bard. Exploring their reception, both with contemporary audiences and through the ages until today, Post explores the core themes of love and lust, and analyzes how the sonnets compare with other great love poetry of the English Renaissance. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.