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‘I am sure I shall turn sonnet': Writing or Being Written in 'Love’s Labour’s Lost'

Abstract : Whether it be Don Armado or the four young lovers, love immediately gives rise to writing in Love’s Labour’s Lost: “Devise wit; write, pen”, Armado commands, while Berowne purports to “love, write, sigh, pray, sue, groan” (3. 1. 181). In that, they can be compared to the speakers of many sonnet sequences of the period, such as Samuel Daniel’s Delia or Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella, both first published in 1591. Writing dominates the play, maybe more so than love, even though love is supposed to be the subject of this comedy. The play even abounds in the use of love letters as props, and the play’s characters become books, literally, being both “writing” and “written” characters; ink and pen become part of the human body. Furthermore, the play also contains many comments on the art of writing, especially as Shakespeare himself as a playwright — like several of his contemporaries — was part of a new class of writers or poets, with a different social background from that of his predecessors. In this article, I am contending that, as in mannerist poetry, the subject of the play is in fact writing itself: the play does not claim to imitate reality but creates a “secondary” type of reality through the numerous references to the act of writing.
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https://hal.univ-reims.fr/hal-02511473
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Submitted on : Monday, February 22, 2021 - 10:16:12 AM
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Cycnos 31.1 2015 (1)-37-48.pdf
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Christine Sukic. ‘I am sure I shall turn sonnet': Writing or Being Written in 'Love’s Labour’s Lost'. Cycnos, Revel, 2015, Love's Labour's Lost de Shakespeare ou l'art de séduire, 31 (1), pp.35-46. ⟨hal-02511473⟩

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