Isabelle: Developing my Topic

The experience of developing my History Trail research has been both challenging and rewarding. As I am personally interested in sexuality and gender in popular literature, the trail has allowed me to question and explore gendered readings of popular texts, which can easily be found on campus.

I personally chose Shakespeare’s Sonnets as I was moved by the powerful, seemingly open language that Shakespeare uses to sincerely express his love towards both a male and female subject. The copy in the Cadbury Research Library was in very good condition, and it was fascinating to physically interact with a beautifully illustrated piece. It was only after researching the illustrator (Charles Ricketts), and discovering the further speculation surrounding his sexuality, that my interest in the piece continued to develop.

As I explored the speculative subject surrounding Shakespeare and the possible implications of his ‘homoerotic’ poetry, I became fascinated at the links I began to uncover between his poetry and the works it inspired. For instance my other focus text, written by popular author Oscar Wilde, is a piece that solely explores the theories surrounding the identity of Sonnet’s dedicatee ‘Mr W H’. The connection between the two pieces was fascinating, and I decided that researching only one of the pieces would be a difficult task, as the two works complimented each other.

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