The last brawl between Sir Mulberry and his pupil, illustration from `Nicholas Nickleby' by Charles Dickens (1812–70) published 1839 (litho) (see also 249150), Browne, Hablot Knight (Phiz) (1815-92) / Private Collection / Ken Welsh / Bridgeman Images
By MICHAEL CAINES
Around the time I was writing on the blog about a rediscovered copy of Shakespeare's First Folio, the newspapers were catching up with a Shakespeare-related debate from the TLS letters pages.
It had begun back in September with a book review by Jason Scott-Warren, in which he referred to the "primarily homosexual context" of the Sonnets. Not so, said another contributor, Professor Brian Vickers, in a letter published the following week; it was "anachronistic" to suggest that the Sonnets could not be, in part, about male friendship, as well as a heterosexual relationship between an unnamed female addressee and the poet.
Or a "poet-persona", maybe? "Autobiographical interpretations are fictive", Vickers threw in, just to make sure the whole thing caught fire . . . .