Share it Please
[They wouldn't allow me to take a picture while inside of special collections because they had me on lockdown while I was in there, but I snatched a quick picture before I left. What an experience!]
Traditional Scholarly Source:
The scholarly source I chose comes from the ELH journal, in an issue titled, "The Scandals of Shakespeare's Sonnets." In this article, Robert Matz discusses the rise in the anthologization of Sonnet 130. He mentions how as Shakespeare becomes an increasingly important subject in undergraduate coursework, the idea of "metapoetics" also becomes important and a subject of interest. It would be good to include the idea of "metapoetics" and how Sonnet 130 fulfills this idea in a paper.
Informal Online Source:
This source from grin.com describes a certain reading of the sonnet line by line. One important interpretation found here includes the fact that the sonnet is written about the dark lady, not to her. Often, sonnets are written to the object of affection, not about them to another audience. It also remarks on how comparing the lady to nature has an effect of bringing her down to earth rather than exalting her.
I found this video reading of the sonnet by Stephen Fry (one of my favorite British actors). He does an excellent job of expressing admiration for the love object even while rejecting traditional modes of beauty, and downplaying some of the aspects that may be more harsh on modern ears than they were in Shakespeare's time (such as the fact that her breath "reeks"). It's important to remember that the speaker isn't disparaging the dark lady, but finding a different way to praise her.
I spoke with my brother Daniel about the sonnet. He had read a book of Shakespeare's sonnets written by Helen Vendler (the reason I went to special collections in the first place was to find the book and read her interpretation of Sonnet 130). He mentioned how this sonnet fit in context with surrounding sonnets in talking about the "dark lady." It was the first time I had heard the term, and it made me want to read the surrounding sonnets to find context for this one.