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Love's Labor's Lost
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Love's Labor's Lost

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  5,567 ratings  ·  213 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

Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1598)
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Community Reviews

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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...more
Anthony Vacca
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
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...more
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
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...more
I’m normally a big fan of Shakespeare’s plays, and while I enjoyed parts of this one, it still fell a bit flat for me. The King of Navarre and three of his friends decide they will swear off women and other temptations for three years while they focus on their studies. Of course they decide to do this shortly before the Princess of France and her friends are about to visit. No sooner is the vow made than all four men are swooning over the lovely ladies.

There are some really funny parts, like wh...more
Bill  Kerwin
It could be argued that one of the subjects 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 quib...more
Pippi Bluestocking
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.
"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...more
Helen Mears
This has always been my favourite Shakespeare comedy but, until now, I have seen it performed (several times) rather than read it. This time I read it alongside watching a DVD of the recent Globe Theatre production of the play. That's is the only way to read and fully appreciate the play. The production took LLL back to its Elizabethan roots and performs about 95% of the original text (as based on the 1598 Q1). A good production puts the word play into context and good performance serves to illu...more
I like Love's Labour's Lost a good deal, but it is a slog. It's full of outdated puns and wordplay and plays on wordplay and satire on rhetorical forms, and really the point of it all is lost to antiquity. But I like what is says essentially about the foolishness of youth, and the difference between words of love and the experience of love. Four noble boys say ridiculous things, silly in their earnestness, and four matching girls toy with their affections, and it's all fairly lovely, until the b...more
A king and his lords together vow,
But books to love henceforth (from now);
Not ere a maid, a meal, a sow,
Will encroach their court over the next three years, which seems like a pretty tall order to me, but hey ho.

BUT ZOUNDS! The king, in haste to swear the oath,
Forgot a princess - and her ladies - indeed, both,
Were making way to him to repay debt.
Lord Berowne twigs that "of necessity" will all their oaths be crushed.

The three lords and king fall in love with the princess and three ladies. So much...more
The university student is a strange creature, stuck in a curious limbo between adolescence and adulthood. It is said to be a time of great learning: you attend lectures on (hopefully) fascinating subjects, figure out how to pay an electricity bill, and do your own laundry. There is the pursuit of knowledge, the desire to evolve, a search for that elusive wisdom that all proper adults seem to possess… But you’re not an adult yet. Instead, you find yourself having water balloon fights outside the...more
A few things on "Love's Labour's Lost," beyond the question of whether it contains a few extra apostrophes... By Shakespeare standards, there isn't a lot of plot in this play. Unlike many of the comedies (and all of the tragedies), at no point are any of the characters in any real danger. By most accounts, it does not line up to be a personal favorite. Yet, the play is full of subversive spirit, quite funny, and full of phenomenal (usually rhyming) banter. The central theme is of the inadequacy...more
The antics and ridiculousness doesn't get much better than this, if only because the wordplay and banter are so extreme that the play gets better with the takedowns of the buildups. It's almost a treatise against higher education, which is exemplified by the annoyance of Holofernes's Henry James-like syntax, the men not being able to hold to their no-women policy when it comes to their three years' studies (they don't make it three days), and Armado's ridiculous grandeur towards the Jacquenetta...more
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
Jacob Fisher
Shakespeare must have recognized the problem he left unaddressed in his portrayal of fidelity in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona." In "Love's Labour's Lost" he takes up the conflict between our determinations and our desires — between an oath and its fulfillment — with a balance of seriousness, self-conscious sentimentality, and unparalleled verbal wit. Once again Shakespeare proves himself a gifted humorist, but he demonstrates his growth as a playwright, moving beyond the simple laughs of his ear...more
Love's Labour's Lost is listed by some people as Shakespeare's second play, though it seems somewhat maturer than Henry VI or A Comedy of Errors, which are listed after it. It is clearly an early play, and characterisation strictly gives way to contrived plotting.

The story involves the King of Navarre and three of his noblemen deciding to eschew the pleasures of the world in favour of a year of purely academic study. Their plans are soon thrown into disarray by the arrival of the Princess of Fra...more
Pietro Coen
This play is about a bunch of nerds falling in love and is reminiscent of the sit com The Big Bang; the story line is a bit odd, but not all that far fetched; it involves a group of people (the King of Navarre and three of his lords Berowne, Longaville and Dumaine) who swear an oath in Act I to “live and study here three years” and “not to see a woman in that term”, “one day a week to touch no food, and but one meal on every day beside”, “and then, to sleep but three hours in the night and not t...more
Perry Whitford
'O' my troth, most sweet jests, most incony vulgar wit!'
Costard, Act IV, Scene II

In Shakespeare's insistingly playful, pun-tastic comedy, the king of Navarre and his three lords swear an oath to give themselves over to study and forbear the pleasures of the world for three years, including the society of women:

'The mind shall banquet, though the body pine.
Fat paunches have lean pates; and dainty bits
Make rich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits.'

A noble sentiment, but badly timed, for the P...more
Pretty funny. The king and his friends pass a law that they will swear off women until they are done learning. The princess is on her way with her friends at this time and everyone falls in love.
You get their stories of the couples. They put on a play but then the women leave and then men swear to wait a year to prove themselves to the women. But they don't tell you what happens after that.
Eh, since most of the conflict and action is in the wordplay, it's really hard to get into it since the language is so different. This is the first play I didn't finish before watching it at the Shoebox theater.
The execution of it at Shoebox helped a lot though. I enjoyed the play after that.
One of the most important plays in the canon, and a new personal favourite, this early comedy has the distinction of not only being unlike many of the other comedies by Shakespeare's hand, but being the forerunner of the city comedy later to take hold of audiences in London and around the world. It was not a point of discussion in my class today, but the must be some connection between the free-flowing conversation among the various classes represented, and the ballroom sketch that was a regular...more
Decent play, the best thing about it is the idea of the plot.

Intellectual Men who will devote themselves only to studies and not be tempted by women.

The play was funny. One of the funniest Shakespeare plays,

However I did not like the theater guessing game scene and the ending
The ending was just a big disappointment.

A reverse Deus ex Machina, which was my first exposure to one.

Everything was running so smoothly and bam! it's all shit.
I was disappointed. "No!! Why did Shakespeare do this?"
Rhonda Hankins
this play proves that shakespeare didn't always get it right. silly. predictable. repetitive. not even the oregon shakespeare festival production could salvage this one . . .
Ron Nie
I was surprised by how much I liked this on my reread! I especially love Biron, who is so good at making you think black is white and white is black. He could talk me into so many bad ideas and be hot while doin it. Aww yiss crushes on long dead fictional characters.

But for real, this was legit funny. I didn't get a lot of the jokes because the references aren't applicable anymore, and then in order to get them you have to read a million footnotes, and we all know the death of a joke is explain...more
Prepped by a friend who acts professionally, and who was about to appear in Love’s Labor’s Lost, I approached this work with low expectations. I expected it to be funny and it is hilarious at times. I expected it to be full of wit and it is. Still, I was told it was not one of Shakespeare’s best works. And it is not.

The key problem with this play is the Bard’s misplaced priorities. The focus is wordplay instead of plot. Whole scenes lack dramatic movement because they consist of characters recit...more

Often called one of Shakespeare's most intellectual plays, Love's Labour Lost is a witty comedy full of wordplay. The King of Navarre and his three companions swear an oath to live an austere life of academic study for three years, most notably swearing to give up the company of women. No sooner is the oath sworn than the Princess of France visits Navarre's court as an emissary from her father. She has with her three ladies in waiting. Unsurprisingly, the King and his three companions fall in lo

The most structurally bizarre of Shakespeare's plays (clearly there really was a sequel or else it doesn't make any sense) -- it's three very short acts followed by two long acts and it ends inconclusively.

Although I read an edition without footnotes, I got a lot of the jokes (most of them being Latin puns) and it was no less obvious to me the genius that went into this. The entire play is in heroic couplets and nearly all of it is witty banter -- and not only by the men. Although I'm always he...more
Four men who vow not to be distracted from their studies by love end up getting distracted. They all fall in love. Not to the same woman, but to four different women. It all seems somewhat lacking in drama and conflict.

Instead, Love’s Labour Lost indulges in wordplay. Stichomythic conversations flit by seemingly obtuse to the weight of puns and references burdening them. There’s no doubt that Shakespeare can be difficult to read for the modern reader but even academics acknowledge that Shakespea...more
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Shakespeare Fans: Love's Labour's Lost Ending 4 48 Dec 29, 2012 06:12PM  
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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
More about William Shakespeare...
Romeo and Juliet Hamlet Macbeth A Midsummer Night's Dream Othello

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