Love's Labour's Lost

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Love's Labour's Lost is one of William Shakespeare's early comedies, believed to have been written in the mid-1590s, and first published in 1598.



The title is normally given as Love's Labour's Lost. The use of apostrophes varies in early editions. In its first 1598 quarto publication it appears as Loues Labor's Lost. In the 1623 First Folio it is Loues Labour's Lost and in the 1631 edition it is Loues Labours Lost. In the Third Folio it appears for the first time with the modern punctuation and spelling as Love's Labour's Lost.[1]

Date and text

Most modern scholars believe the play was written in 1595 or 1596, making it contemporaneous with Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream.[2] Love's Labour's Lost was first published in quarto in 1598 by the bookseller Cuthbert Burby. The title page states that the play was "Newly corrected and augmented by W. Shakespere," which has suggested to some scholars a revision of an earlier version.[3] The play next appeared in print in the First Folio in 1623, with a later quarto in 1631.


Love's Labours Lost is, along with The Tempest, a play without any obvious sources.[4] Cymbeline also falls into this category to some extent, although that play draws strands of its narrative from some texts agreed on by modern scholars. Some possible influences can be found in the early plays of John Lyly, Robert Wilson's The Cobbler's Prophecy (c.1590) and Pierre de la Primaudaye's L'Academie française (1577).[5]

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