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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
Love's Labours Won
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0736  Tuesday, 19 April 2005

[1]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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 >
        Date:   Friday, 15 Apr 2005 12:13:03 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0717 Love's Labours Won

[2]     From:   Scot Zarela <
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        Date:   Saturday, 16 Apr 2005 14:40:50 -0700
        Subj:   Re: Love's Labour's Won

[3]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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 >
        Date:   Friday, 15 Apr 2005 15:46:08 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0717 Love's Labours Won


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 15 Apr 2005 12:13:03 -0400
Subject: 16.0717 Love's Labours Won
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0717 Love's Labours Won

 >It is by no means obvious that LLW is a sequel to LLL - there are
 >unlimited other explanations (or limited only by human imagination,
 >which amounts to the same thing).

And, as David Basch (and Leslie Hotson) show, that is hardly a limitation.

 >All that we actually know is that it
 >was apparently known as a play by Shakespeare (or as a book, assumed to
 >be of a play by Shakespeare) to Francis Meres, and as a book to a
 >contemporary stationer.

Actually, we know a lot more than that:

(1)  In 1952 a bookseller's inventory was discovered that listed both
LLL and LLW as separate listings in alphabetical order.  Perhaps this is
what John Briggs means by "and as a book to a contemporary stationer."
But this evidence cannot be fobbed off so backhandedly.  The bookseller
would have had no reason to fabricate the names in his stock.

(2)  The internal evidence in LLL is even more evocative. The play does
not end like a traditional comedy, as Birowne notes ("Jack hath not
Jill"), and the ending is full of strong hints of a continuation after a
year ("it wants a twelvemonth and a day, / And then 'twill end.  That's
too long for a play.").  In other words, "stay tuned."   The tasks
assigned the various gentlemen  provide good grist for another comedy.

 >But we also know that there was a lost 'first'
 >quarto of LLL. My own suggestion (invoking, as
 >usual, Ockham's Razor is that this lost quarto was
 >a 'Bad' quarto, and bore the title "Love's
 >Labours Lost, Love's Labours Won".

Then why would the bookseller list the two titles separately?  Applying
Occam's razor, the answer is because they were two separate volumes.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scot Zarela <
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 >
Date:           Saturday, 16 Apr 2005 14:40:50 -0700
Subject:        Re: Love's Labour's Won

I thought that Leslie Hotson had suggested "Love's Labour's Won" as an
alternative title for "Twelfth Night" (probably in his /The First Night
of 'Twelfth Night'/, [London:  R. Hart-Davis, 1954]).  But my memory may
be gamboling; perhaps it was another scholar's suggestion.

The possibility that Shakespeare's "Troilus" was "LLWon" teases out of
thought.  Did Meres, in his play-going days, encounter some ephemeral
advertising that associated the phrase with the title?  We do know (if
we know anything) that the play was no crowd-pleaser:  then if Meres was
one of the few who did like it, he may have retained the nonce
catch-phrase as his personal title to the (never revived?) play.  (Not
being revived, it wouldn't get lodged-through repetition-under an
"official" title.)

 From speculation to inquiry:  what do we know about the styles of
advertising that the player-companies used?  More specifically, the
verbal styles in printed advertising-handbills, broadsheets, whatever?
(I leave the question open-ended because unable to promise that it will
lead us to the "lost play" or to an explanation of the "ghost title".)

David Basch also gives an account of Hotson's take on "the meaning of
the titles .. Love's Labour's Won (and Lost)".  I don't know how
faithful the account is; but one of them, or I, must be missing
something.  I understand the sense of /love's labour's lost/ as /the
effort of love is gone for nought/.  The parallel title gives a meaning
out of parallel:  /the sought-for end of love is attained/.  If applied
to "Troilus & Cressida" it makes a bitter jest.

-- Scot

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 15 Apr 2005 15:46:08 -0400
Subject: 16.0717 Love's Labours Won
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0717 Love's Labours Won

 >My own suggestion (invoking, as usual, Ockham's Razor)
 >is that this lost quarto was a 'Bad' quarto, and bore the title "Love's
 >Labours Lost, Love's Labours Won".
 >
 >John Briggs

How would "Love's Labours Won" pertain to the play we know?  I don't see
Troilus and Cressida as "Love's Labours Won," either.  I don't buy
Hotson's argument and think T&C belongs to a much later style and
outlook of Shakespeare's.  I still hold for Shrew.  At least it very
much fits the title, as no other contender does (without strain).

--Bob G.

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