For where is any author in the world teaches such beauty as a women's eye? The King of Navarre persuades his courtiers to join him in renouncing the world for three years of study. Foremost amongst their undertakings is a promise to forsake the company of women; but no sooner have they taken their oath than a beautiful French princess and her female attendants arrive at the palace gates on a diplomatic mission. It is love at first sight, of course; and then each man faces the challenge of wooing his lady without breaking his vow and without allowing the others to find out. Formal and scholarly, rich in wordplay and poetic invention, "Love's Labour's Lost" is perhaps the most demanding of Shakespeare's comedies, but on this recording Sir Derek Jacobi, Jeremy Brett and Geraldine McEwan lead a distinguished cast in a lively performance.
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Another example of Shakespeare's comic fascination with the battle between and misunderstanding of the sexes, Love's Labour's Lost is a difficult play to read, but one which is extremely effective on stage. The Play opens with King Ferdinand of Navarre and his courtiers taking a vow of study and sexual abstinence for a period of three years. However, their vows are soon placed under strain with the arrival of the Princess of France and her ladies in waiting. The inevitable happens, and the different couples attempt to surreptitiously communicate, causing much hilarious confusion and embarrassment in the process. Shakespeare deploys every farcical element in the book, including impersonation, wrongly delivered letters, outrageous puns and word play, fights, drunkenness and masquerades, as Ferdinand's entourage soon learn that rather than running from women to books, it is in fact the opposite sex that "are the books, the arts, the academes/That show, contain, and nourish all the world". However, one of the most interesting aspects of the play is that it does not end with everyone marrying and living happily ever after. The women give as good as they get from the men, and in the end turn the tables in extremely interesting ways. One of Shakespeare's most linguistically challenging, but also intelligent comedies. -- Jerry BrottonReview:
An early romantic comedy of mistaken identities and word play, Love's Labours Lost is a delight to watch performed. The Arden third series offers a distinctive interpretation of this previously neglected play, in particular its innovative linguistic patterning. The story revolves around the king of Navarre and his courtiers, who decide to devote themselves to three years of study and denial of the opposite sex, but reluctantly fall in love with the Princess of France and her three ladies in waiting. From here, the tangles and cross-purposes begin and the men decide to devote themselves to the study of love. Although dense with sophisticated literary techniques, the play is a wonderful satire of romance and aristocratic pretensions. This edition of Loves Labour's Lost is suitable for both drama and literature students of Shakespeare, as it is a practical guide to staging the play, but also an insightful critique into the play's meaning and history. -- Simon Priestly
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Book Description HarperCollins Audio, 1996. Audio Cassette. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0001050230