William Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost

John Demaray (Rutgers University); Revised By: Virginia Mason Vaughan (Clark University)
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Shakespeare's festive comedy, Love's Labour’s Lost embodies the merriment and misrule of courtly Renaissance pageants and “disguisings”. It is a work of exuberant youthful energy and extraordinary linguistic richness, tempered by a jolting conclusion centered on sickness and death. No single written source has been found for its plot, which rests on the King of Navarre and his three male followers’ courtship of the Princess of France and her ladies.

The comedy survives in a first quarto printing of 1598 with a notation stating that the play was acted before Queen Elizabeth “this last Christmas”, which could mean either the Christmas of 1596-7 or 1597-8 depending on how …

2690 words

Citation: Demaray, John, Virginia Mason Vaughan. "Love's Labour's Lost". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 January 2003; last revised 17 February 2020. [https://staging.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=11361, accessed 26 February 2024.]

11361 Love's Labour's Lost 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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