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This Companion provides a full introduction to the poetry of William Shakespeare through discussion of his freestanding narrative poems, the Sonnets, and his plays. Fourteen leading international scholars provide accessible and authoritative chapters on all relevant topics: from Shakespeare's seminal role in the development of English poetry, the wide-ranging practice of his poetic form, and his enigmatic place in print and manuscript culture, to his immersion in English Renaissance politics, religion, classicism, and gender dynamics. With individual chapters on Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece, The Passionate Pilgrim, 'The Phoenix and the Turtle', the Sonnets, and A Lover's Complaint, the Companion also includes chapters on the presence of poetry in the dramatic works, on the relation between poetry and performance, and on the reception and influence of the poems. The volume includes a chronology of Shakespeare's life, a note on reference works, and a reading list for each chapter.