In 1609, a London publisher
named Thomas Thorpe published a book called Shakespeare's Sonnets.
The volume contained more than 150 sonnets that Shakespeare had written
over the years. Scholars have long been especially curious about the dedication
Thorpe wrote to the book. The dedication reads, in modernized spelling:
"To the only begetter of these ensuing sonnets Mr. W. H." Generations
of researchers have failed to identify Mr. W. H. Scholars have also analyzed
the sonnets to determine to what extent they are autobiographical. But
their analyses have proved contradictory and generally unsatisfactory.
Many critics suggest that readers simply enjoy the sonnets as some of
the finest verse in English literature instead of examining the poems
as autobiographical statements.