Love's Labour's Lost, now recognized as one of the most delightful and stageworthy of Shakespeare's comedies, came into its own both on the stage and in critical esteem only during the 1930s and 1940s, after three hundred years of neglect by the theatre and undervaluation and misuse by critics. The Introduction to this new edition pays particular attention to this process of rehabilitation. The text, based on the quarto of 1598 and taking full account of the extensive scholarly study that text has received over recent years, rests on the hypothesis that the quarto goes back, probably by way of 'lost' quarto, to an authorial manuscript representing the play in a state prior to 'fair copy'. If this is so, the quarto takes on a special significance because through it we can watch Shakespeare in the act of composition, improvising, changing his mind, and revising as his play develops under his hand. The editor offers a number of new readings of difficult and disputed passages, together with some suggestions about the way in which the play's notorious 'tangles' may have come about. A detailed commentary offers full and helpful guidance to the play's scintillating language.
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