January 20, 2011, 10:46 am
Shakespeare’s Sonnets are the Cape Hatteras of poetry: beautiful, alluring, and a graveyard to a good many mariners. Will R.H. (Roy) Winnick be among them? He is the independent scholar who in 2009 ventured out where the warm Gulf Stream current of human interest in the romantic triangle charted in the 154 poems collides with the icy Labrador Current of critical disdain for amateur sleuthing and coded meanings. The seafloor in those parts is littered with wrecks. Those are pearls that were his eyes.
Winnick’s article, “Loe, here in one line is his name twice writ”: Anagrams, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and the Identity of the Fair Friend, looks at the outset like it could be one of those fugues of self-deception that give rise to books like The Bible Code or one of those historical fantasies run amuck such as The Da Vinci Code. Indeed, it could turn out that way, and the safe…