First published in 1609, “The Sonnets” of William Shakespeare are a collection of 154 loosely connected 14 line poems. Considered by many to be among some of the greatest love poetry ever written much debate surrounds the context of the poetry. It has been suggested that the work may be semi-autobiographical but no real evidence firmly supports this notion. The themes of the poems contained within this volume are varied and include such subjects as the passage of time, love, beauty, and mortality. Some scholars have interpreted the collection as a parody of the 300-year-old tradition of Petrarchan love sonnets. This analysis arises out of the fact that Shakespeare inverts conventional gender roles creating a more complex depiction of human love. Seen as a new type of love poetry when first written, “The Sonnets” largely languished in obscurity until the renewed interest in Shakespeare’s work which accompanied the Romantic literary movement of the 19th century. Regardless of Shakespeare’s intent behind the writing of “The Sonnets”, these poems can be appreciated individually or as a whole as examples of William Shakespeare’s true literary genius. This edition includes a preface and annotations by Henry N. Hudson, an introduction by Charles H. Herford, and a biographical afterword.