"[...]as much love in rhyme / As would be crammed up in a sheet of paper / Writ o'both sides of the leaf, margin and all" (5.2.6-8) : marges, décentrement, prolifération dans Love's Labour's Lost

Laetitia Coussement-Boillot

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Abstract :
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« […] as much love in rhyme / As would be crammed up in a sheet ofpaper / Writ o’both sides the leaf, margin and all » is a quotation from Love’s Labour’s Lost which testifies to the play’s attraction for margins of all kinds. As a matter of fact, apart from Act I, Scene 1, the play takes place outside Navarre’s court, in the « wide fields » (2.1.93) of an indistinct pastoral world of otium, until Marcadé’s arrival at the end. While waiting for the documents proving the Princess’s claim to Aquitaine, we witness a succession of ornaments around the theme of love (the sonnet-reading scene, Armado’s letter and the Masque of the Moscovites). From a generic point of view, the play is an aborted comedy with its avoidance of the expected ritual of marriage at the end. Stylistically, Love’s Labour’s Lost is a medley of various languages - Petrarchism, Euphuism, Inkhornism - all of which were already dated and becoming marginal when Shakespeare wrote his play in the 1590s. The decentering process along with the dynamics of proliferation which give pride of place to the margins at the expense of the center are reminiscent of the grotesque ornaments fashionable in England all along the XVIth century ; both can be associated with mannerist aesthetics.
« […] as much love in rhyme / As would be crammed up in a sheet of paper / Writ o'both sides the leaf, margin and all » (5.2.6-8) 1 : c'est ainsi que la Princesse de France juge la quantité de vers envoyés par le Roi de Navarre épris d'elle. La jeune femme décrit la matérialité des mots d'amour occupant le plus d'espace possible, « crammed up », sur les deux côtés de la feuille de papier, « both sides the leaf », proliférant jusque dans les marges, « margin and all », comme si aucun vide ne devait subsister sur la page. Cette citation, extraite de Love's Labour's Lost, illustre la dynamique de décentrement et de prolifération qui parcourt cette oeuvre. Le terme de « margin » attire l'attention du lecteur et du spectateur sur la marge, notion récurrente dans cette pièce de la première période de Shakespeare.
Published : 2015
Document Type : Journal articles
Affiliation : Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7 (UPD7)

Citation

Laetitia Coussement-Boillot, « "[...]as much love in rhyme / As would be crammed up in a sheet of paper / Writ o'both sides of the leaf, margin and all" (5.2.6-8) : marges, décentrement, prolifération dans Love's Labour's Lost », Cycnos, 2015. URL : https://hal.science/hal-03134664