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Love's Labor's Lost

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  8,094 Ratings  ·  404 Reviews
Folger Shakespeare Library

The world's leading center for Shakespeare studies

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 famous lines and phrases

An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language

An essay by leadin

Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1597)
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Bill  Kerwin

It could be argued that one of the themes of Shakespeare's plays is the glories and failures of language itself. If so, it is truer of Love's Labor's Lost than of any other play in the canon. The courtiers, both in their sparring and wooing (and it is often difficult to tell which is which) engage in so much wordplay that they confuse each other and themselves. The comic characters also engage in continual wordplay, each specific to his stock type: fustian braggadocio, pedantic latinate quibblin
Mar 27, 2017 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
- William Shakespeare, Love's Labor's Lost


The plot was a bit underwhelming but the dialogue was razor sharp. Sometimes, Shakespeare's early plays just seem like discoing dervishes in a mirror-adorned room. As a reader we are amazed, dazzled, and distracted by all that is going on, by the spinning virtuosity of Shakespeare's words, by his absolute mastery of the English language, by his dash, his deft slight-of-tongues. There just doesn't seem to be ENOUGH central na
Jan 12, 2010 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I learned from this play:

1. It is probably not the best laid plan to entrust the delivery of an urgent piece of mail to the town goof.
2. If a woman who you are not on romantic terms with suddenly shows up at your residence for a lengthy visit(???), do not make her camp out in the backyard. Let her have the nicest bed...and change the sheets perhaps. Shakespeare didn't mention that part - i'm just extrapolating...
3. While it is great fun to hang out with a group of guys and obsessively watc
peiman-mir5 rezakhani

دوستانِ گرانقدر، این نمایشنامه یکی از آثار هنرمندانهٔ زنده یاد «شکسپیر» است که با موضوعی جالب و خنده آور، درس هایِ زیادی در دلِ خود جای داده است. امّا متأسفانه باعث تعجب است، چراکه به نظر میرسد که کمتر کتابخوانِ فارسی زبانی در این سایت پیدا شود که این اثر هنری را خوانده باشد
عزیزانم، داستان در موردِ «شاه فردیناند» و ندیمانِ او «برون» و «لانگاویل» و «دومن» میباشد که تصمیمی عجیب میگرند و با یکدیگر پیمان میبندند که به مدتِ سه سال نباید با هیچ زنی تماس داشته باشند- هفته ای یکروز نباید دست به غذا بزنن
Anthony Vacca
Jun 23, 2014 Anthony Vacca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another terrific comedy from everyone's favorite Elizabethan playwright. This time Shakespeare throws a curveball that conforms to the popular conventions of stagecraft at the time (courtesy of Aristotle's list of Dramatic Do's and Don'ts in Poetics) and then confounds the typical endgame scenario for a Comedy, i.e. the obligatory pairing off of every single dude and dudette on the stage into forever happy marriages. The first four acts concern a king and his four loyal lords who make a pact to ...more
Γιώργος Μπέλκος
Από τα καλύτερα έργα του συγγραφέα!! Στο έργο αυτό ο γραπτός λόγος φτάνει στα όριά του. Θεματολογικά θίγονται ζητήματα πάντα επίκαιρα για ανθρώπους που αναζητούν τα νοήματα πίσω από τα επιφαινόμενα. Η αναζήτηση της οδού της αλήθειας που κρύβεται σε αυτά τα νοήματα δεν βρίσκεται πάντα στο προφανές. Ο έρωτας φανερώνεται ως δύναμη μεταρσίωσης των ηθικοπλαστικών ιδεοληψιών σε μία θέση πυρός ενάντια στη χαμέρπεια που μας παρασύρει η μηχανικότητα.
Liz Janet
Feb 28, 2015 Liz Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three men sworn off girls, then they see hot girls. They then proceed to forget their oath.

“From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world.”

Mar 18, 2016 Jaksen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am currently reading all of Shakespeare's plays. This is the seventh, and most disappointing thus far.

Now, this is a comedy with immense amounts of wordplay, puns, various malapropisms, etc., so to fully appreciate this play, and unless one has an inordinate knowledge of early modern English - which I do not - an annotated version is the way to go. This is what I did. I also read a lot of commentary and criticism, both positive and negative. One of the best comments I found was that this play
Nov 16, 2014 Ben rated it it was ok
Shelves: english-lit, plays
I found one! A Shakespeare play for which I care very little - dare I say, I don't like!

Yet even when confronted with works which do not titillate one's fancy, I imagine one can still find things to respect or even admire within it. While this play does not stimulate me, it may stand as one of Shakespeare's best in regards to his occupation as a wordsmith. He effortlessly plays with words like many athletes juggle balls or sticks. His characters dissect words nearly to the point of voiding them
Jan 23, 2013 Io? rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theater, british
Parole parole parole. Che danzano vorticosamente. Parole parole parole. Che promettono illudono e si perdono nel vuoto. Parole parole parole. Siamo capaci noi uomini di seminarle al vento. E poi venitemi a dire che Shakespeare non è più attuale!
Di una sola cosa sono amareggiato, ed è il fatto di non riuscir a leggerla in lingua originale (ma non mi do per vinto..). Nemi D'Agostino, nella sua traduzione, ha fatto veri e propri salti mortali per rendere il più possibile i giochi di parole contenut
Cindy Rollins
This is one of my favorite plays. I think of it as Shakespeare making fun of the educated class. In fact, I think this is Shakespeare using his massive imitation skills to make fun of them. Very fun play. Lots of word play.

2017 Update: Listened to Arkangel Audio and while the production was wonderful and the voices talented, it was confusing to keep up with 4 couples of roughly the same age with just voices. Better to have the book on hand when doing this one in audio.
يعتكف ملك نافار ( فردنند ) مع ثلاثة من المقربين منه ( براون , لونغافيل , دومين ) في قصرهم رافضين اي متعة من متع الحياة لمد ثلاث سنوات . يصومون يوما" في الاسبوع ويأكلون القليل ويمتنعون نهائيا عن النساء ويستمرون في الدراسة لطلب العلم ... وأقسم الملك أن لا تدخل قصره أي امراة مهما كان السبب ..

ومع ذلك تأتي أميرة فرنسا للتفاوض مع الملك في أمر قطعة أرض فإذ بالملك يعتذر منها عن عدم استطاعته أن يستقبلها في قصره ويعد لها مسكنا خارج القصر .. فتقرر الأميرة ورفيقاتها مشاكسة الملك والضحك على عقولهم هو ورفاقه
Sex jokes and pedant mockery aren't enough to carry a play, and Berowne and Rosaline may be prototypes of Benedick and Beatrice, but they've got a long way to go to reach that couple's level of complexity, sympathy, and charm. Aside from a few good speeches and clever exchanges, this was pretty dull.
May 26, 2016 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The 2000 film of this play got me in trouble because I was laughing so loudly at Shakespeare; I was told after the film, "Everybody in this room HATES you." (Guess Americans are not s'posed to laugh at Great Drama--or poetry, either.)
Arguably Shakespeare's most Shakespearean play, or interplay: the exchanges of wit, what he would have overheard at Middle Temple and among his fellow actors. Rather than the text, I'll comment on Branagh's musical version, with himself as Berowne and Director, Sc
Fatma Abdelrahman
Feb 16, 2017 Fatma Abdelrahman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
ملك نافار وأصدقاؤه الثلاثة قطعوا عهدا علي أنفسهم أن يتخلوا عن ملذات الحياة ويتفرغوا لطلب العلم وألا تنظر أعينهم أمرأة قط ، فانظر ماذا حدث!
تزوره أميرة فرنسا وصديقاتها الثلاث أيضا، تخيل! .. في بداية عهده ذاك، ثم يهيم الملك بحب الأميرة ويعشق أصدقاؤه الثلاث صديقاتها الثلاث.. يا إلهي!

يُرسل أحدهم الرسائل لمحبوبته خِلسة من وراء الصُحبة، حتي لا يكون خائنا للعهد، وبكل سهولة ينكشف المخطط المُخِل، ويعترف الرجال أنهم عاشقون، ويأتي بيرون ليُحلل فِعلتهم ويريحهم من عذاب الضمير، فيقتنعون بحُجته التي طلبوها من
The King of Navarre and his travelling companions swear to stay away from the company of females and it is a rollicking ride after that. Based on true historical figures (Henri IV of France), this is one of the earliest Shakespeare comedies and one of the least performed of his plays.

The first time I read this, it was a required reading (school), so as with anything 'required', I paid little heed. Later, when life provided opportunities for voluntary reading, I went back and gave it a whirl and
Mar 24, 2007 Conrad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This edition shamefully omits the u in "Labour's." Anyway, this is my favorite Shakespeare play, for two reasons: one, it's basically one huge unbelievably well-read reminder to get out and enjoy life more, and two, it's pinched into two tonally distinct parts. The beginning involves a young king who makes an agreement with his friends that they all need to dedicate themselves to their studies, and that they will live a perfectly ascetic and chaste life until they've earned their degrees or some ...more
Pippi Bluestocking
Aug 09, 2011 Pippi Bluestocking rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play
What can I say? Shakespeare makes love with the English language in this one. One can easily spot the ingredient that ornamented William's genes and can be found in Austen's and Wilde's as well. Fashionably witty, surprisingly erudite, gently amusing. Truly stunning.
Ben Goodridge
Feb 28, 2017 Ben Goodridge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
See, now, when I talk about how teachers give short shrift to Shakespearian plays that might actually resonate with students in favor of overrated dirges like Hamlet, this is what I'm talking about.

The plot's easy enough to follow. Four students, one of them the King of Navarre, have forsworn women to devote themselves to three years of academic study. The oath lasts exactly as long as it takes for the Princess of France and her royal court to show up and prove themselves as clever, witty, and i
Dec 30, 2012 Phil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another play that feels like a transition play. Really, this is slightly more than 3.5 stars, but not quite 4 stars, because while it's a huge improvement on A Comedy of Errors, it still feels like there's something missing. However, the plot is great: simple, ripe for comedy misunderstanding and pricking of pomposity.

The earnest young men in the court of Navarre decide to hide away for 3 years to study philosophy: not drink, fasting, meditation, endless study and debate and above all ... no co
Vanessa Wu
Feb 21, 2015 Vanessa Wu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I should probably point out before I begin this review that I have watched the Opus Arte production of it on DVD several times, with subtitles, and it is largely thanks to the skill of the actors that I have managed to understand some of it. Trystan Gravelle as Berowne and Michelle Terry as the Princess of France are particularly brilliant.

By which I mean I can understand what they are saying.

But all the actors and actresses are excellent. I am always moved by the two songs at the end, which ar
How I wish Shakespeare was a tiny little bit easier to read for my poor french self!
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
Oct 08, 2016 Kailey (BooksforMKs) rated it really liked it
Shelves: weighty-classics
This play is all froth and silliness! King Ferdinand and three lords of his court have vowed to study for three years, fasting, barely sleeping, and not keeping company with any women, in order to devote themselves exclusively to the pursuit of knowledge. But the Princess of France throws their plans and their vows into confusion when she arrives with the ladies of her court, seeking audience with the King on some political matters. King Ferdinand immediately falls in love with the Princess, and ...more
Jan 06, 2015 Someone rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

من مسرحيات المرحلة الأولى في حياة شكسبير ومن أوائلها، وهناك كثير من التكلّف في الحوار، التكلّف الكثير جدًا، وأشير بشكل أعمى إلى الترجمة بالتأكيد التي ساعدت على إبراز ذلك، فهذه مسرحية شعرية بكل لفتاتها، أقصد أن المعاني الشعرية غلبت الأحداث كثيرًا وبسطت سيطرتها على الخشبة، فلا أحد حينها سيهتم لماذا كانوا أربعة وكنّ أربعة، ولماذا كل واحد منهم أعجب بواحدة مختلفة منهن بدون اتفاق وأحبّها حبًا جارفًا بهذه السهولة، ولماذا كل واحدة منهن أعجبت بمن أعجب بها في اتفاق غريب، ولا أحد سيهتم كثيرًا في وقوف الأبط
Jan 05, 2010 Paul rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It is Shakespeare, so it was meant to be seen and heard, not read. That said, I have enjoyed reading Othello, Much Ado about Nothing, Taming of the Shrew, etc. This one is a struggle. It has great lines and NO plot worth following. It is one Shakespearean gag after another and of course, that means each line is excellently crafted, smart, and (with annotation read first) very funny. But I could not finish it. It was boring with a childish plot and there is a reason you don't see this one perform ...more
Mar 28, 2015 Sally rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'm grateful to have heard from Cindy R about the Shakespeare in a Year reading plan, because I have not read Love's Labour's Lost before. I enjoyed Shakespeare's masterful misuse of words as he poked fun at the learned and erudite (ahem!) characters. But it made me sad to think of how so much of it would go over the heads of modern audiences, it seems to me anyway. If you don't know the correct Latin word/phrase or intended allusion, how can you appreciate the stuffy malapropism? So how would y ...more
Apr 11, 2016 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whenever I read a play by Shakespeare, I always skip the opening – the bit that the Elizabethan dramatists called the Dramaticus Personae (and what Wikipedia calls a List of Characters). I instead go straight to David & Ben Crystal’s encyclopaedic labyrinth of a book, Shakespeare’s Words, which always has more answers than I could ever have questions. It’s always easier for me to physically see the characters and their allegiances drawn on a Venn diagram than it is for me to just try and rem ...more
Apr 12, 2007 Ali rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-dramas
For me, reading a play is kind of ”one man performance”, and totally different experience comparing to the very same play’s performance at theatre or in film form. I consider them as three different versions of one story.
گفتن از شکسپیر و آثارش به تابو می ماند. کمتر کسی شهامت دارد بگوید از این یا آن اثر شکسپیر، خوشش نمی آید. یا عیب و ایرادی بر یکی از آثار او بگیرد. این واویلا بیشتر می شود وقتی انگلیسی، زبان دوم یا سومت باشد، و با ادبیات و زبان کهنه ی انگلیسی قرن شانزدهم بکلی بیگانه باشی! بهررو، م
Jun 09, 2011 Edward rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Sparkling repartee between the fair visitors from France and their host in Navarre, whose vow to study out of sight of woman is quickly broken, makes Love's Labour's Lost one of the most delightful and stageworthy of Shakespeare's comedies."
That's the GOODREADS blurb for a play that had too much "repartee" for me, and as for "sparkling", well, one man's sparkling is another man's "fizzling". Seems to me Shakespeare just couldn't restrain himself in this one - he has not one man giving up wome
May 18, 2010 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Making sense of this play is heavily dependent on good footnotes, since the dialogue is replete with puns, especially sexual puns, in archaic language, unfamiliar to most modern readers. Once the puns are understood, the dialogue is recognized as witty, pointed, and characterized by sharp repartee. There being minimal action, at least through the play’s first half, enjoyment is dependent on language play and thus a solid understanding of the language. I find it hard to imagine seeing an actual p ...more
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
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“From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world.”
“Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye.” 22 likes
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