Love's Labour's Lost (Vol. 88)
Love's Labour's Lost
For further information on the critical and stage history of Love's Labour's Lost, see SC, Volumes 2, 23, 38, 54, 64, and 77.
One of Shakespeare's earliest comedies, Love's Labour's Lost (c. 1594-95) details a pact made by the King of Navarre and three of his courtiers who swear off women in order to focus their energies on intellectual pursuits. The oath is quickly forgotten, however, following the appearance of the Princess of France and her entourage. Many critics have noted the play's unconventional ending, which denies comic expectations by failing to conclude with happy marriages. Historically regarded as one of Shakespeare's minor comedies and considered inferior to his later works in the genre, Love's Labour's Lost has traditionally been disparaged by critics for its weak and haphazard characterization and feeble plot. Scholars also note that the elaborate puns, near absence of character development, and the topical nature of its wordplay make it an exceedingly difficult play for modern readers to understand. Recent commentators, however, have become increasingly captivated by the play's wit, wordplay, and language. Today's critics also demonstrate significant interest in the structure and style of Love's Labour's Lost, and well as its themes concerning sexual politics, gender roles, and class issues.
Although the characters in Love's Labour's Lost are generally considered to be flat and one-dimensional, many critics have attempted to uncover their hidden depths. Ursula Hehl (see Further Reading) applies the concepts of narcissistic personality disorder to a psychoanalytic understanding of the principal male figures in Love's Labour's Lost: Berowne, Navarre, and Armado. According to Hehl, the narcissistic ego imbalance of the King and his fellow noblemen explains their vanity, lovesickness, rationalizations, and arbitrarily shifting desires, as well as their failure to win over the women. Meredith Anne Skura (1997) contends that Shakespeare parodied the concepts of heroic honor and fame through his characterization of the pretentious figure of Don Armado and the clown Costard. Skura also explains how Shakespeare's characterization of these figures provides a satiric perspective on the Elizabethan aristocracy. In his 1973 study, Trevor Lennam maintains that the principal figures in Love's Labour's Lost resemble characters found in traditional morality plays; for example, the King of Navarre and his companions represent Wit, Armado represents Recreation, and the Princess and her entourage represent both Wisdom and Shame. Harvey Birenbaum (2003) analyzes the themes of will and desire in Love's Labour's Lost and illustrates how these themes are developed through the actions of the characters. Birenbaum also notes that the women in the play have something to teach the men about “what life is and how it works” and contends that although the male characters are often seen as immature and foolish, they are in fact sincere.
Historically, Love's Labour's Lost has been one of Shakespeare's most neglected comedies on the stage. After being abandoned for nearly two centuries, the play was revived in the nineteenth century and has gained some measure of popularity with modern audiences and directors. The play's first film adaptation—Kenneth Branagh's 2000 reworking of the play as pre-World War II film musical—met with mostly negative reviews. Lindsay Duguid (2000) argues that a lack of atmosphere was the film's most serious shortcoming; commenting on the film as a whole, the reviewer comments “It is hard to know for whom all this expensive foolery is intended—someone who has never seen the play, or any play, perhaps; or someone who has never seen a movie.” Love's Labour's Lost was once considered nearly impossible to successfully stage; however, the play has had a number of recent productions, including Trevor Nunn's highly praised 2003 Royal National Theatre production. Susannah Clapp (2003) applauds Nunn's successful staging of this play, noting that “Love's Labour's Lost is the most knottily worded and clown-stuffed of Shakespeare's plays, one of those comedies which is hardly ever funny.” Also reviewing Nunn's production, Sheridan Morley (2003) lauds Nunn's decision to set the play as a dream sequence on the battlefields of the World War I and praises Joseph Fiennes's fine performance as Berowne. Matt Wolf (2003) calls Nunn's staging a “partial success,” noting that the production came alive only in the second half of the play. Wolf praises Nunn as a director “with an acute sense of text who can shadow even this play's sunnier passages with the gathering clouds of pain.”
Many contemporary scholars, such as Koshi Nakanori (1982), have attempted to reassess the structure and style of Love's Labour's Lost, which has long been judged as inadequate in relation to other romantic comedies of the period. Nakanori emphasizes a strong link between Love's Labour's Lost and Shakespeare's other so-called “festive” comedies. While acknowledging the play's defects of character and plot, Nakanori nevertheless defines the piece as a transitional work that bears fundamental structural similarities with other Shakespearean dramas. Critics are also interested in the play's representation of sexual politics, gender roles, and class issues. Patricia Parker (1993) highlights the various class and gender relationships in the play, contending that the rhetoric and language of Love's Labour's Lost “forges links between the play's reversing of letters and words and its reversals of the conventions of gender.” Similarly, Katharine Eisaman Maus (1991) offers a feminist critique of Love's Labour's Lost, in which she explores the connection between the play's language and its theme of sexual politics. Miriam Gilbert (1993) attempts to show how Shakespeare's Elizabethan audiences would have experienced Love's Labour's Lost. In her analysis, Gilbert examines the play's complex style, verbal extravagance, and unique ending, noting that “this comedy, which seems in many ways more artificial than Shakespeare's others, more concerned with affectation and stylistic brilliance, becomes finally the most realistic of all, as it acknowledges that the theatre cannot always solve life's complex relationships.”
Criticism: Overviews And General Studies
SOURCE: Nakanori, Koshi. “The Structure of Love's Labour's Lost.” In Love's Labour's Lost: Critical Essays, edited by Felicia Hardison Londré and translated by Toru Iwasaki, pp. 289-99. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997.
[In the following essay, originally published in Japanese in 1982, Nakanori argues that Love's Labour's Lost shares strong structural affinities with Shakespeare's other “festive” comedies.]
Some of Shakespeare's works have long been neglected and only recently come to critical attention. Love's Labour's Lost is a typical example, illustrating most vividly the fluctuations in Shakespearean criticism.
Aside from Richard Burbage's opinion, contemporary to the play and praising its “wytt” and “mirthe,” the general tone of its critical history since the Restoration has been negative, although parts of the play were occasionally commended. Until the twentieth century, most critics considered the play a failure or an immature piece. William Hazlitt went so far as to declare: “If we were to part with any of the author's comedies, it should be this.”1
Even in the age of adaptations, Love's Labour's Lost earned only one such compliment, the anonymous The Students, published in 1762, but never performed. It was not until the 1830s that the original version of the play returned to the stage along...
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SOURCE: Kerrigan, John, ed. Introduction to William Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost, by William Shakespeare, pp. 7-36. New York: Penguin Books, 1982.
[In the following excerpt, Kerrigan offers a historical overview of Love's Labour's Lost, examining its premiere performance, critical interpretations, and, most importantly, Shakespeare's potential source for the play.]
Love's Labour's Lost has finally come into its own. After more than three centuries of neglect, it stands today among those Shakespeare plays which can be guaranteed to fill houses, thrill audiences, and—most difficult of all—please actors. Ironically, the play is now popular for precisely those qualities which previously kept it from favour. It has no towering central role, no Hamlet or Falstaff, and in the days of Garrick and the Victorian actor-managers, when audiences demanded star actors playing star parts, this made it theatrically unattractive. Now audiences are prepared to respect the play's sociability, its breadth, its capacity to accommodate on more or less equal dramatic terms a whole community of characters from a king to a constable and clown. Its language, too, has been vindicated. In the past, on stages cluttered with scenery and elaborate costumes, its verbal virtuosity must have seemed odd and irrelevant. On today's bare, or nearly bare, boards, the lines sing, crackle with wit, or creak along with...
(The entire section is 8559 words.)
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SOURCE: Gilbert, Miriam. “‘As it was presented before her Highness’: Love's Labour's Lost on the Elizabethan Stage.” In Shakespeare in Performance: Love's Labour's Lost, edited by J. R. Mulryne, J. C. Bulman, and Margaret Shewring, pp. 1-20. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993.
[In the following essay, Gilbert attempts to show how Shakespeare's Elizabethan audiences would have experienced Love's Labour's Lost.]
In this play, which all the editors have concurred to censure, and some have rejected as unworthy of our poet, it must be confessed that there are many passages mean, childish, and vulgar; and some which ought not to have been exhibited, as we are told they were, to a maiden queen. But there are scattered through the whole many sparks of genius; nor is there any play that has more evident marks of the hand of Shakespeare.
(Johnson, p. 112)
Samuel Johnson's closing comment on Love's Labour's Lost for his 1765 edition of The Plays of William Shakespeare is intriguing in its contradictions. After first criticising ‘many passages’ as being ‘mean, childish, and vulgar’, Dr Johnson then praises the play's ‘many sparks of genius’. But since the play received no professional productions between Shakespeare's time and the early nineteenth century, both Dr Johnson and his...
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Criticism: Character Studies
SOURCE: Lennam, Trevor. “‘The Ventricle of Memory’: Wit and Wisdom in Love's Labour's Lost.” Shakespeare Quarterly 24, no. 1 (winter 1973): 54-60.
[In the following essay, Lennam contends that the principal figures in Love's Labour's Lost resemble characters found in traditional morality plays.]
… a foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures, shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions, revolutions. These are begot in the ventricle of memory, nourish'd in the womb of pia mater, and delivered upon the mellowing of occasion. But the gift is good in those in whom it is acute and I am thankful for it.
(IV. ii. 61-67)
Some years ago T. B. Baldwin observed that Love's Labour's Lost was “constructed on an idea” and that commentators had failed to grasp “the idea as a whole” because of their ignorance of both Elizabethan psychology and the structure of morality plays; particularly he had in mind the pedagogical moralities.1 He suggested that Shakespeare intended Love's Labour's Lost to be “a school morality in reverse” or, as he put it in another way, that “love won by study is love's labor lost.”2 His cogent analysis of this aspect of the play is, in my opinion, essentially right, but he does not appear to have convinced many others. Baldwin's views have...
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SOURCE: Skura, Meredith Anne. “Armado and Costard in The French Academy: Player as Clown.” In Love's Labour's Lost: Critical Essays, edited by Felicia Hardison Londré, pp. 313-23. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997.
[In the following excerpt, originally published in 1993, Skura contends that Shakespeare parodied the concepts of heroic honor and fame through his characterization of the pretentious figure of Don Armado and the clown Costard.]
The Taming of the Shrew, framed as theater by its Induction, is almost certainly earlier, but the pageant in Love's Labour's Lost is the first Shakespearean inner play proper. Since the players' roles call for comedians in the modern sense, their entry here marks the first confrontation in the canon between King and Clown and establishes Shakespeare's opposition between the player and the aristocratic world of heroes from whom he begs alms.1 Ferdinand, King of Navarre, is the “great man” in Love's Labour's Lost and though he may have “sworn out house-keeping” (II.1.103), he cannot escape from his duty as host, either to the visiting princess or to the players who help him to entertain her. And when the motley players in Love's Labour's Lost perform their Pageant of Worthies, they gain access not only to Navarre's academic retreat in his country house, surrounded by its “curious-knotted garden” (II.1.242), but to...
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SOURCE: Birenbaum, Harvey. “The Princess and the Pricket: Love's Labour's Lost on the Problem of Will.” Mosaic 36, no. 1 (March 2003): 103-20.
[In the following essay, Birenbaum analyzes the themes of will and desire in Love's Labour's Lost and illustrates how these themes are developed through the actions of the characters.]
King Ferdinand of Navarre has persuaded his three companion lords to join him in three years of study without women around, and without much food or sleep either. It does not take long for that good idea to fall apart. After the four aspiring lovers sigh aloud their stanzas of Petrarchan passion and together find out each other's treason, Berowne proclaims the new philosophy they have all been waiting for, simply to justify their male humanness:
From women's eyes this doctrine I derive: They are the ground, the books, the academes, From whence doth spring the true Promethean fire.
The woman's “eye” is, we understand, synecdoche for her body and symbol for her spirit. Women are the ultimate reality before whom all books are pretense. Of course, that means the beloved women, but women are to be loved because of the Sublime that they embody. Knowing them is knowing life. One (a man) sees that, in women's eyes, truth and beauty are the same....
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Criticism: Production Reviews
SOURCE: Duguid, Lindsay. “No Kicks in a Plane.” Times Literary Supplement (7 April 2000): 34.
[In the following review, Duguid considers Kenneth Branagh's 2000 film adaptation of Love's Labour's Lost.]
Love's Labour's Lost has an odd stage history; hardly ever performed between 1609 and 1939, it came strongly back into fashion in the 1970s, when it was put on in a variety of settings and costumes. The play's incomplete state attracts some sort of updating, and Kenneth Branagh's idea of setting it in the late 1930s seems to offer the advantages of stylish and recognizable costumes and an atmosphere of vanished gaiety.
Having had the idea, Branagh runs away with it, introducing outmoded cinematic devices, such as Pathe-style coverage of events at the Court of Navarre, Ealing comedy chases and interpolated song-and-dance routines. The film is made up of many such allusions; Dull is a comic policeman, Costard a vaudeville trouper with a suitcase and a pocketful of flags; Holofernes becomes Holofernia, a St Trinian's schoolmistress in a tweed suit with mortar board and gown; Moth is an army batman; the King, Berowne, Longueville and Dumaine are clean-cut guys, amiable hoofers attending an Ivy League college, and the Princess and her ladies giggling vamps in evening gowns, smoking cigarettes in ivory holders. There are fantasy sequences involving aeroplanes, a Busby Berkeley routine in a...
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SOURCE: Clapp, Susannah. “So, Farewell, Clever Trevor: Trevor Nunn Bows out of the National Theatre with a Martial Production of Love's Labour's Lost.” Observer (2 March 2003): 15.
[In the following excerpted review, Clapp praises Trevor Nunn's 2003 National Theatre production of Love's Labour's Lost.]
Trevor Nunn's production of Love's Labour's Lost is addressed to a country on the brink of war and a theatre in the throes of regime change. And Nunn has created an occasion to mark these endings, an evening flooded with sunlit nostalgia and fringed with darkness.
He bows out as artistic director of the National with a production that transplants the romantic action of Shakespeare's comedy, in which a band of would-be celibates succumbs to love, to a bosky Edwardian England. In John Gunter's majestic design, a huge tree is dappled with shade and layers of lacy leaves. There is birdsong and the buzz of insects; there is music, with some of the riper speeches being sung; there are sandwiches and civility.
This belle epoque suits Nunn's aesthetic. His canvas is populated with girls who scamper, women trailing long dresses and little-boy proles looking on in caps. The detail is exquisite: young couples, intent on badinage, follow the flight of an unseen bee as if tracing the line of their wit. And the sense of idyll is heightened by threat. The play is seen...
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SOURCE: Morley, Sheridan. “Love, Language, and Lyricism: Sheridan Morley Enjoys a Week of Poetic Inspiration from Shakespeare to Larkin.” New Statesman 132, no. 4628 (10 March 2003): 46.
[In the following excerpted review, Morley lauds Trevor Nunn's 2003 National Theatre production of Love's Labour's Lost, particularly Joseph Fiennes's performance as Berowne.]
After six years, Trevor Nunn bids farewell to the National Theatre. His parting play Love's Labour's Lost, reflects both his RSC beginnings in the reinvention of minor Shakespearian comedies and his interest in classic musicals—My Fair Lady, Oklahoma! and Anything Goes are all either at the National or have moved on from there. Indeed, this new Love's Labour's Lost is cross cast with Anything Goes and there are moments when it seems to want to be a musical—preferably one by Cole Porter or Noel Coward.
Nunn's most striking concept is to set this Love's Labour's Lost as a dream sequence on the battlefields of the First World War. Men about to die horribly are given a brief glimpse of the love they will never know.
What we have here is the bittersweet and ultimately very black tale of the King of Navarre and three of his lords, who have all sworn to study for three years during which time no woman shall come within a mile of them. Almost at once, the Princess...
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SOURCE: Wolf, Matt. Review of Love's Labour's Lost. Variety 390, no. 5 (17 March 2003): 43-4.
[In the following review of Trevor Nunn's 2003 Royal National Theater staging of Love's Labour's Lost, Wolf contends that the production was a “partial success,” noting that it came alive only in the second half of the play.]
What a difference an interval—sorry, intermission—makes. There's no other way to sum up one's experience of the lavish and leisurely National Theater production of Love's Labour's Lost, which marks the final production of National a.d. Trevor Nunn after 5 1/2 years at the helm. Closing out his tenure with a staging that takes until its second half to show off Nunn as the leading classicist that he is, Love's Labour's demands a labor of love from an audience to last out the mirth-free first hour or so. Come the break, and it's as if the quicksilver tragicomic spirit of Chekhov has been channeled into this Shakespeare play, as was true some two decades ago of Nunn's defining RSC All's Well That Ends Well. If Love's Labour's is more a partial success, at its best it makes clear just what the National will lose once Nunn departs—a director with an acute sense of text who can shadow even this play's sunnier passages with the gathering clouds of pain.
The gravitas, of course, is embedded in the word “lost” in Shakespeare's...
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SOURCE: Mikesell, Margaret Lael. Review of Love's Labour's Lost. Shakespeare Bulletin (spring-summer 2003): 46.
[In the following review, Mikesell evaluates Sarah Megan Thomas's 2003 Thirteenth Night Theatre Company production of Love's Labour's Lost at the Tribeca Playhouse in New York.]
Sarah Megan Thomas, Producer, Artistic Director, and Birona (aka Berowne) in this production of Love's Labor's Lost, released the following “mission” statement: her company “aims to increase the accessibility of theatrical performances by exploring classical theatre from contemporary perspectives,” and it “encourages its audiences to discover connections between the generations of ‘then’ and ‘now’. …” Love's Labor's Lost is an excellent project for the company, being verbose and knotty even by Shakespearean standards, with a rather uneventful plot that postpones the expected weddings at play's end. The Thirteenth Night Company has admirably met the challenges presented by this play.
First off, director Kit Thacker has moved his Love's Labor's Lost into the “now” with its setting in some postmodern watering spot for the wealthy, perhaps on the Riviera. An azure sea, complete with the sounds of breaking waves, forms the backdrop for both indoor and outdoor action, with a sliver of moon hanging stage left. (The rest of the simple set includes...
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SOURCE: Kohn, Martin F. “Love Story Is Good for a Laugh.” Detroit Free Press (24 August 2003): 6E.
[In the following review, Kohn applauds Antoni Cimolino's 2003 Stratford Festival of Canada production of Love's Labour's Lost.]
The quickest way to discern the trifling nature of Love's Labour's Lost is to hear its rhythms. Much of it is in rhyme, unlike the preponderance of Shakespeare's plays. In another departure from the Shakespearean norm, some dialogue is in anapestic tetrameter. (In case you missed class that day, think “'Twas the Night Before Christmas.”)
The play's plot, if you can call it such, centers upon four Spanish noblemen who swear to avoid women for three years and to devote themselves to studious pursuits. Enter four French noblewomen. (In case you missed class that day, it doesn't matter.)
Director Antoni Cimolino and company provide a surfeit of style to make up for a shortage of substance, and a good time is had by all.
Shakespeare supplies ample ammunition. At one point the four noblemen disguise themselves as Russians and drop in on the women. Designer Santo Loquasto has garbed the men in outlandish Russian red; they look like rejects from a Cossack dance troupe (and dance like it, too). Later, for no compelling reason, a group of rural folk in funny costumes puts on a play; amateurs all, they botch it...
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SOURCE: Kehler, Dorothea. “Jaquenetta's Baby's Father: Recovering Paternity in Love's Labor's Lost.” Renaissance Papers (1990): 45-54.
[In the following essay, Kehler emphasizes the theme of deception in Love's Labour's Lost.]
When Longaville first sees Maria, he asks Boyet, “Pray you, sir, whose daughter?” “Her mother's, I have heard” (II.i.201-202),1 quips Boyet, in effect withholding the information Longaville seeks—Maria's paternity. Boyet's witticism intimates that establishing paternity is chancey. Faulconbridge, the Bastard in King John, reminds John that the paternity of “all men's children” is a secret that lies in their mothers' keeping (I.i.63); and, coincidentally, Maria of Love's Labor's Lost turns out to be “an heir of Falconbridge” (II.i.205).
Variations on Boyet's jest appear in other Shakespearean comedies. In Taming of the Shrew the pedant replies to the question “Art thou his [Lucentio's] father?” with “Ay, sir, so his mother says, if I may believe her” (V.i.32-34). In Much Ado Don Pedro, seeking to identify Hero, remarks to Leonato, “I think this is your daughter,” to which Leonato retorts, “Her mother hath many times told me so” (I.i.104-05). In The Tempest Prospero tells Miranda that he was once Duke of Milan. Astonished, Miranda asks, “Sir, are not you my father?” “Thy...
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SOURCE: Maus, Katharine Eisaman. “Transfer of Title in Love's Labor's Lost: Language, Individualism, Gender.” In Shakespeare Left and Right, edited by Ivo Kamps, pp. 205-23. New York: Routledge, 1991.
[In the following essay, Maus offer a feminist critique of Love's Labour's Lost in which she explores the connection between the play's language and its theme of sexual politics.]
Influential feminist critics of Shakespeare have rarely dealt with Shakespeare's early, linguistically extravagant work.1 Most have confined themselves to discussing Kate's capitulation scene in The Taming of the Shrew, or to tracing in the first years of Shakespeare's career basic plot or image patterns that recur in what is often considered the “mature” oeuvre. Understandably, feminists have preferred to concentrate upon the later comedies, the histories, the tragedies, and some of the romances. Proponents of a new critical discourse can most efficiently demonstrate the power of their approach by influencing the ways the most impeccably canonical Shakespearean texts are discussed in professional publications and conferences, and taught in the undergraduate and graduate classroom. Moreover, the perennially fascinating characterological complexity of Shakespeare's later work has proven congenial to feminist critics, allowing them an ample field upon which to display the insights that...
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SOURCE: Parker, Patricia. “Preposterous Reversals: Love's Labour's Lost.” Modern Language Quarterly 54, no. 4 (December 1993): 435-82.
[In the following essay, Parker highlights the various class and gender relationships in Love's Labour's Lost.]
At the beginning of Love's Labor's Lost, after the men of Navarre have sworn their “three years' fast … not to see a woman in that term” (1.1.24, 37), the Constable enters with a letter from the “magnificent Armado” accusing Costard of a crime that this so-called “shallow vassal” (1.1.253) proceeds to explain:
The matter is to me, sir, as concerning Jaquenetta: the manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.
In what manner?
In manner and form following, sir, all those three: I was seen with her in the manor-house, sitting with her upon the form, and taken following her into the park, which put together, is in manner and form following. Now, sir, for the manner—it is the manner of a man to speak to a woman; for the form—in some form.
For the following, sir? …
Such is the simplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.
Costard (described as an “unlettered small-knowing soul”) is...
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SOURCE: Thomas, Sidney. “Mannerism and Anti-Mannerism in Love's Labour's Lost: ‘The Words of Mercury Are Harsh after the Songs of Apollo.’” In Shakespeare's Universe: Renaissance Ideas and Conventions, edited by John M. Mucciolo, Steven J. Doloff, and Edward A. Rauchut, pp. 243-50. Hants, England: Scolar Press, 1996.
[In the following essay, Thomas examines the paradoxes found in Love's Labour's Lost.]
Love's Labour's Lost inevitably invites discussion by paradox. It is Shakespeare's most light-hearted and sportive comedy, yet the merriment is interrupted and the scene begins to cloud with an announcement of death. It is a love comedy, yet at its close Jack hath not Jill. It is deliberately artificial in conception, structure, and language, yet it concludes with an attack on the artificial life. It reveals Shakespeare's debt to his predecessors and contemporaries more clearly than any other of his plays, yet it is one of his boldest and most original experiments in form. Finally, it is totally unlike any other play he was ever to write, yet it contains, in microcosm, much of the matter and style of his later work.
Most, if not all, of these paradoxes can be subsumed under a more general paradox: Love's Labour's Lost is Shakespare's most mannerist play, yet it is also his farewell to mannerism. It is, uniquely among his plays, a self-conscious aesthetic...
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Babcock, Weston. “Fools, Fowls, and Perttaunt-Like in Love's Labour's Lost.” Shakespeare Quarterly 2, no. 3 (July 1951): 211-19.
Explores the wordplay in Love's Labour's Lost, particularly Shakespeare's use of puns.
Brown, Eric C. “Shakespeare's Anxious Epistemology: Love's Labour's Lost and Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 45, no. 1 (spring 2003): 20-41.
Argues that Shakespeare used Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus as a source for his Love's Labour's Lost.
Ellis, Herbert A. “Semantic Puns in Love's Labour's Lost.” In Shakespeare's Lusty Punning in Love's Labour's Lost, pp. 34-111. The Hague: Mouton, 1973.
Provides a meticulous glossary of the puns used in Love's Labour's Lost.
Hehl, Ursula. “Elements of Narcissistic Personality Disorders in Love's Labour's Lost.” Literature and Psychology 40, nos. 1-2 (1994): 48-70.
Applies the concepts of narcissistic personality disorder to a psychoanalytic understanding of the principal male figures in Love's Labour's Lost: Berowne, Navarre, and Armado.
Montrose, Louis Adrian. “Comic Shapes.” In “Curious-Knotted Garden”: The Form, Themes, and Contexts of...
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