This is a reminder that we will be meeting to read Love’s Labour’s Lost on Sunday, October 18, 12:45 pm at the Plymouth Library.

The timing for this reading worked out really well since at least five or six of the readers are going to be seeing the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre performance of the play at the Power Center in Ann Arbor the following weekend.

Most of the following is based on Goddard’s description of the play.

It was held earlier that Love’s Labours’s Lost was one of the very earliest plays because of its verbal extravagances, its pun and conceits and its profuse use of rhyme. However, today many people hold the opinion that the play was written in the mid 1590’s. Shakespeare satirizes the excesses of language for one of the last few times before he moves on to taking language to its limits of expression in his tragedies.

The play is packed with many topical allusions, many of which would be incomprehensible without a good annotated edition, so please be prepared for this at the reading. I suppose sitcoms and stand-up comedians represent our age’s brand of wit and wise-cracking and reading the play is a good exercise in imagining how the wise-cracking of our age will sound 400 years from now!

Here is a little example of Shakespeare poking fun at the excesses of language. Berowne is swearing to henceforth woo in plain and simple language, but he cannot help piling on one verbal extravagance after another in doing so. Rosaline sees this and with a simple response makes him aware of this.

BEROWNE:
…..
O, never will I trust to speeches penn’d,
Nor to the motion of a schoolboy’s tongue,
Nor never come in vizard to my friend,
Nor woo in rhyme, like a blind harper’s song!
Taffeta phrases, silken terms precise,
Three-piled hyperboles, spruce affectation,
Figures pedantical; these summer-flies
Have blown me full of maggot ostentation:
I do forswear them; and I here protest,
By this white glove;–how white the hand, God knows!–
Henceforth my wooing mind shall be express’d
In russet yeas and honest kersey noes:
And, to begin, wench,–so God help me, la!–
My love to thee is sound, sans crack or flaw.

ROSALINE
Sans sans, I pray you.

Prashant Andrade (fea_123@yahoo.com)

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