Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: March ::
Re: Love's Labour's Wonne
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0603  Friday, 28 March 2003

[1]     From:   Bob Grumman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 27 Mar 2003 09:37:48 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0591 Re: Love's Labour's Wonne

[2]     From:   Chris Whatmore <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 28 Mar 2003 01:48:14 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0578 Re: Love's Labour's Wonne


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 27 Mar 2003 09:37:48 -0500
Subject: 14.0591 Re: Love's Labour's Wonne
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0591 Re: Love's Labour's Wonne

Bill Lloyd:

>I guess John Drakakis' point is that as it stands we'll never really be
>able to answer the Love's Labour's Won question. He's right.

Agreed.

>Bob Grumman need not have reservations based on Shrew's date, since
>there's a problem only if we take Meres' list as being absolutely
>complete-- but it's not.

I believe it is complete for all of Shakespeare's plays worth
mentioning.  The Henry VI trilogy was very early (possibly too early for
Meres or anyone but a few theatre people to know it was by Shakespeare),
very poor, and possibly a collaborative effort.  The Taming of the Shrew
is as good, certainly, as Loves Labours Lost, so why leave it out?

>So Shrew may just not have been mentioned and
>could be from 1593 or 1589 without being LLW. In fact that early date
>makes the identification with LLW less likely. If, as most agreee, LL
>Won is the sequel and LL Lost came first, then LLW would have to date no
>earlier than 1594 or so.

I think the first version of Loves Labours Lost must have come very
early in Shakespeare's playwriting career (late 1580s or very early
1590s) because of the level of writing (its best parts seeming to be
mainly revisions) and its narrative poverty.

>But Shrew it's agreed is almost certainly no
>later than 1593, and so could not be the sequel to a play not yet
>written.

I wouldn't think it written later than 1593.

snip

>I agree with Larry Weiss that it ought to be obvious that LLW would be a
>direct sequel with the same characters,

I don't see that at all.  I wonder if anyone would have thought
Shakespeare might have intended a sequel to Loves Labours Lost if no one
had ever referred to a play called Loves Labours Wonne.

Just now I also wonder what the sequel would have consisted of.  Loves
Labours Lost seems to come to a pretty definite conclusion: all the boys
get their girls--they just have to wait.

>and his quotations are very
>persuasive.

I think "That's too long for a play" is just a jest about the play Biron
is in not being able to include the final coming together of the pairs.

>I guess the thing that makes me want to identify it with a
>[version of an] extant play is that otherwise it seems to have
>disappeared so completely. It was written 1594<>1598 for the Lord
>Chamberlain's players, was in print by 1603 [the other day I incorrectly
>said 1602], but is then never heard of again, is not included in the
>First Folio, does not get a later post-Folio publication... just poof!
>
>It's not inconceivable that Love's Labour's Won was by someone other
>than Shakespeare, but that Meres, knowing of the existence of a play of
>that title, just assumed it was by WS. The sequel to Taming of the Shrew
>is by someone other than Shakespeare.

I could go with that.

--Bob G.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Whatmore <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 28 Mar 2003 01:48:14 +0000
Subject: 14.0578 Re: Love's Labour's Wonne
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0578 Re: Love's Labour's Wonne

Larry Weiss wrote:

>Isn't it obvious that LLW is a sequel, or second part, of LLL?  Love's
>Labours Lost is unique among the comedies in that it does not end with a
>marriage or betrothal.

And Bill Lloyd wrote:

>I agree with Larry Weiss that it ought to be obvious that LLW would be a
>direct sequel with the same characters, and his quotations are very
>persuasive. I guess the thing that makes me want to identify it with a
>[version of an] extant play is that otherwise it seems to have
>disappeared so completely.

The sequel idea is a perfectly logical conjecture. But is it not equally
possible that they were conceived as a kind of diptych - two
interdependent elements of a single artistic design, acting as mirror
images of each other?

If this were the case, and one were searching the known canon for a
likely candidate for LLW, one would presumably look for a work that most
satisfyingly echoed LLL's tone, theme, structure and setting, while also
offering strongly contrasting perspectives and outcomes. And for me,
that work would be As You Like It.

The parallels between LLL and AYLI are well known: the Arden AYLI lists,
among others, the "quadruple love capers", the hunting scene, a "plot of
conversation rather than action", the "clever, mocking ladies (one of
them called Rosaline)" and similar themes of affectation versus
naturalness. To these we might add the 'French' settings, the alfresco
courts-away-from home, the love letters, the quirky supporting
characters (Jaques and Armado) both melancholic and both described as
"travellers", the clowns (Touchstone and Costard) both joking about
breaking their shins, the dullards (William and Dull) who don't
understand a word that's being said, the motifs of physical and
emotional hunger...

But then the opposites -

Jacks hath their Jills -- Jacks hath not their Jills Wanderers invading
a 'desert' forest from a court -- wanderers besieging an 'unpeopled'
court from a field A court marred by excess physicality -- a court
marred by excess cerebration Comic deus ex machina (Hymen) in final
scene -- tragic ditto (Marcade) Real labours of love (travels/travails)
involving personal trial and denial -- trivial pursuits
(sports/manoeuvres) involving self-regarding games...

Okay - it's only a semi-serious thought (as John Drakakis points out,
Shakespeare probably also wrote Robocop). It's a little fantasy
triggered by a couple of lines in Lodge's Rosalynde: the first where
Aliena says to Saladyn "...so men are not men unless they be in love,
and their honours are measured by their amours not their labours,
counting it more commendable for a gentleman to be full of fancy than
full of virtue". So maybe you write one play about those full of virtue
whose labours bear fruit and one about those full of fancy whose labours
come to nothing? The first based directly on Rosalynde and the second
made up from scratch, simply to create its equal and opposite? (Granted,
it's hardly an equal, but WS wasn't known for great original plots.)
Then there's the second Lodge line describing poor Montanus as he reads
Phoebe's letter to Ganymede: "At last, noting Phoebe's extreme desire
toward Ganymede and her disdain towards him, giving Ganymede the letter,
the shepherd stood as though he had neither won nor lost." Not exactly a
smoking gun, I admit, but just seeing those words together in an
undisputed Shakespearean source is kind of fun.

Historically, early-to-mid 1590s would make more sense for some aspects
of AYLI than the usually ascribed date of 1599. The second edition of
Rosalynde came out in 1592, just two years after the first, and one
might imagine Shakespeare cottoning on to this extremely successful work
pretty soon after that (or after the 1596 3rd edition at the latest)
rather than waiting for yet another edition at the end of the decade.
And of course there's the 'dead shepherd' reference - again, more likely
to have been written while Marlowe's death in 1593 was fresh in the
memory than six years later?
So why/how/when would LLW mutate into AYLI? Well, I guess we know when -
after Meres' list in 1598 but before the Stationer's Register entry in
1600.  The 'why' might have had something to do with the arrival of
Robert Armin and any consequent rewriting of the Touchstone part. Or,
more to the point, the introduction of the Amiens role (Amiens =
frenchified Armin?) and all those damned songs. As was mentioned in this
or another thread recently, the signs are that WS wasn't that impressed
with 'musicals', and the Arden editor (for one) conjectures that the
AYLI songs were added specifically to meet the challenge of the
children's companies "which were naturally supplied with good singing
voices, and were released from inhibition in 1599." One can therefore
quite easily imagine the author digging out one of his less successful
earlier works (too cerebral, too much chat), throwing in a few musical
numbers and sarcastically subtitling the result "As You Like It", as if
to say "if that's what the punters like, then that's what they can
have". So we get "Love's Labour's Won or As You Like It" - a joke
repeated and embellished with the author's name a year or two later with
"Twelfth Night or What You Will".

And sure enough, they did like it! Much more than they liked it when it
was LLW. So AYLI was the name that went forward to the Stationer's
Register, to protect the play's new-found success. In that case, the
listing of LLL and LLW in the 1603 fragment might simply have been a
reference to printed versions of the two works using their 'proper'
titles. By the same token, if it was acted for King James at Wilton
House in that same year, then such a fashionable audience would almost
certainly have used the more jokey alternative.

Robocop, anyone?

Chris Whatmore

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.