Love’s Labour’s Lost is Shakespeare’s most sophisticated and intellectual comedy. The King of Navarre chooses to devote himself to the life of the mind, until love intervenes.
Written between 1588 and 1597 for law students at the Inns of Court, Love’s Labour’s Lost is a more intellectual and sophisticated comedy than Shakespeare had yet attempted. The King of Navarre retires from court, together with his three gentlemen, to devote himself to the life of the mind – but love, in the form of the Princess of France and her ladies, intervenes. Exquisite flights of verse alternate with ‘russet yeas and honest kersey noes’. The philosophical concerns of this play, and the vitality of the language (it contains more newly coined words than any other of Shakespeare’s works apart from Hamlet) make it deeply rewarding.
Published by Oxford University Press and bound in hardback buckram by The Folio Society, The Oxford Shakespeare series offers authoritative editions of Shakespeare’s plays. The early printings have been scrupulously re-examined and interpreted by eminent scholars, who also provide introductory essays covering all relevant background information, together with an appraisal of critical views and of the plays in performance. The exhaustive commentaries pay particular attention to language and staging. Reprints of sources, music for songs, genealogical tables and maps are included where necessary; many of the volumes are illustrated, and all contain an index.
Each book has an individual editor, with the whole series overseen by Stanley Wells.
The late George Hibbard was Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
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