A masterly app...As accessible as it is scholarly, it’s an extraordinary achievement, that brings the sonnets bracingly to life and definitively sets the bar for the future of digital reading.'
– Robert Collins, London Sunday Times
The Sonnets presents William Shakespeare’s immortal collection of love poems in an interactive digital edition that allows you to explore, appreciate and understand this great work of literature as never before.
All 154 sonnets are performed to camera by a star-studded cast including Sir Patrick Stewart (Star Trek, X-Men, Royal Shakespeare Company), David Tennant (Dr Who, Hamlet), Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City), Fiona Shaw (The Waste Land, Harry Potter), Stephen Fry (The Hobbit) and Dominic West (The Wire). These performances – all specially filmed for the app – are synchronised to the text, which highlights line by line as each sonnet is spoken.
The performance videos, running over two and a half hours, are just the beginning. Also included are the complete Notes and Introduction from the Arden Shakespeare, offering unsurpassed scholarly commentary and insight. Touch a mysterious line or difficult word in any of the poems and the corresponding Arden Note highlights to provide comprehensive explanation. An alternative commentary on every sonnet comes from poet and musician Don Paterson, whose humorous and accessible style complements the academic rigour of the Arden Notes.
• Beautiful filmed performances of all 154 sonnets by an incredible cast of Shakespearian actors and experts
• The complete Arden edition text of The Sonnets plus A Lover’s Complaint
• The complete Arden Shakespeare notes and introduction fully integrated
• New commentary on The Sonnets by Don Paterson
• Facility to add your own notes on any sonnet
• High resolution facsimile of the original 1609 Quarto showing Shakespeare’s Sonnets as originally published
• Forty interviews with scholars and experts discussing the meaning of The Sonnets and their author
• Share-a-Sonnet allows you to send a sonnet to friends by email, Twitter or Facebook
• Second generation interface based on the acclaimed Faber / Touch Press literary app The Waste Land
• AirPlay enabled allowing the performances to be streamed full screen to AppleTV
The Sonnets are published by Touch Press, the people behind the best-selling iPad titles The Elements and The Waste Land. The Sonnets was produced and published in partnership with Faber and Faber, Illuminations and the Arden Shakespeare.
Minor bug fixes and improvements
Ratings and Reviews
An app worthy of the Bard
The extraordinary thing about this app is that there is literally more reference material, comment, first folio pictures and actors than you can shake a quill at. That before the simply stunning performances of the actors involved in the readings of these fabulous and unique sonnets. It's a gold-mine of poetry and reference and I have already trawled its depths many times. I am on my second pass through the sonnets and have tweeted every single one on a daily basis. Each time I get to a new one I have to read the fascinating details from both Arden and Don Patterson (who put the other commentaries together) and compare the way the sonnet appeared by looking at the first folio pics. I can also make notes of my own and make up a favourites list. I then marvel at the performers.
I am not sure how the publishers were able to get together the distinguished groups of actors they did but the bonus of having them on this app is second to none.
It's well worth the price and is in every sense worthy of Shakespeare's efforts to describe his feelings of love, loss, beauty, age, time, history and much much more.
Every single pixel of TouchPress's latest iPad app just oozes care and attention to detail. Each sonnet is lovingly accompanied by a beautiful reading by a Shakespearean professional, from actors to poets and voice coach extraordinaire Cicely Berry CBE. As well as each line highlighted as it is read, the Arden Shakespeare notes and the (frequently hilarious) commentary by Don Paterson brings an extra dimension of understanding to Shakespeare's poetry. If you particularly like a sonnet, you can send links to friends (they'll see a copy of the video which doubles as an ad for the app, along with the sonnet text).
It is the "Perspectives" section which completes this app, though. Videos (and transcripts) of experts looking at the Sonnets in historical context, from examination of the form to a very interesting look at "original pronunciation", or how scholars now believe Shakespeare and his contemporaries would have delivered the lines we know so well today. The whole section helps illuminate appreciation of all of Shakespeare's output, not just his poetry.
Worth every penny
What an Aladdin's cave of delights. It's hard to know which bits to praise the most - there are so very many. The performances are invariably superb - and poems are so much clearer and enjoyable when you listen to an insightful performer than just reading them off the page.
And Don Paterson's Commentary explains in a wonderfully accessible way what is going on - so if you thought poetry was too "hard" for you, get ready for this world to be opened up for you - all the hard work has been done, so you can just sit back and listen and enjoy the show. And if you are not familiar with Don Paterson you are in for a treat - humour and insight rolled into one.
And of course the Arden notes give you chapter and verse on everything there is to know, so even the most demanding study needs to look no further.
I have never had so much pleasure from an app, or from Shakespeare for that matter. And I have so much more of it to explore - I look forward to settling down with it each evening and continuing its story. Just buy it. And give it to all your friends.
- Touch Press Inc
- 1.5 GB
Requires iOS 10.0 or later. Compatible with iPad.
- Age Rating
- Rated 12+ for the following:
- Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humour
- Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content and Nudity
- © TouchPress Ltd, 2017
Up to six family members will be able to use this app with Family Sharing enabled.