Love's Labor's Lost (Folger Shakespeare Library)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
At first glance, Shakespeare’s early comedy Love’s Labor’s Lost simply entertains and amuses. Four young men (one of them a king) withdraw from the world for three years, taking an oath that they will have nothing to do with women. The King of Navarre soon learns, however, that the Princess of France and her ladies are about to arrive. Although he lodges them outside of his court, all four men fall in love with the ladies, abandoning their oaths and setting out to win their hands.
The laughter triggered by this story is augmented by subplots involving a braggart soldier, a clever page, illiterate servants, a parson, a schoolmaster, and a constable so dull that he is named Dull. Letters and poems are misdelivered, confessions are overheard, entertainments are presented, and language is played with, and misused, by the ignorant and learned alike.
At a deeper level, Love’s Labor’s Lost also teases the mind. The men begin with the premise that women either are seductresses or goddesses. The play soon makes it clear, however, that the reality of male-female relations is different. That women are not identical to men’s images of them is a common theme in Shakespeare’s plays. In Love’s Labor’s Lost it receives one of its most pressing examinations.
The authoritative edition of Love's Labor's Lost from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:
-Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play
-Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play
-Scene-by-scene plot summaries
-A key to the play’s famous lines and phrases
-An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language
-An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play
-Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s vast holdings of rare books
-An annotated guide to further reading
Essay by William C. Carroll
The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit Folger.edu.
finally and fatally to mar this arcadia, the pastoral idyll in which, away from the confines of the indoor spaces of the court, the play’s action takes place. With his news it is not only the language but also the expected closure of the play’s action that can no longer be contained by the male characters:KING Come, sir, it wants a twelvemonth and a day, And then ’twill end. BEROWNE That’s too long for a play. (V.2.861-62) Comedy’s closure is itself destroyed by the news of death. The
country youth 178 duke’s (Is the error - for “king’s” - Dull’s or Shakespeare’s? Also at I.2.36 and 121.) 180 reprehend (for “represent”) 181 farborough petty constable (for “thirdbor ough”) 184 commends greets 186 contempts (for “contents”) 187 magnificent Armado (punning on the “Great Armada,” the Spanish invasion fleet of 1588) LONGAVILLE A high hope for a low heaven. God grant us 190 patience! BEROWNE To hear, or forbear hearing? 192 LONGAVILLE To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh
power a double power, 306 Above their functions and their offices. It adds a precious seeing to the eye: 308 A lover’s eyes will gaze an eagle blind. A lover’s ear will hear the lowest sound, 310 When the suspicious head of theft is stopped. 311 Love’s feeling is more soft and sensible 312 Than are the tender horns of cockled snails. 313 Love’s tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste. For valor, is not Love a Hercules, 315 Still climbing trees in the Hesperides? 316 Subtle as
transactions in Stratford, ending with the notation of his death on April 23, 1616, and burial in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon. THE QUESTION OF AUTHORSHIP The history of ascribing Shakespeare’s plays (the poems do not come up so often) to someone else began, as it continues, peculiarly. The earliest published claim that someone else wrote Shakespeare’s plays appeared in an 1856 article by Delia Bacon in the American journal Putnam’s Monthly - although an Englishman, Thomas Wilmot,
and able to evade any watchful controls on her sexual activity:Ay, and, by heaven, one that will do the deed, Though Argus were her eunuch and her guard. And I to sigh for her, to watch for her, To pray for her! (195-98) Berowne is condemned to perform all the actions of the lover for someone he cannot respect:Well, I will love, write, sigh, pray, sue, groan: Some men must love my lady, and some Joan. (201-2) The last line may be proverbial - “Joan is as good as my lady” - but it often