"I shall turn sonnet" : la poésie dans Love's Labour's Lost

Laetitia Sansonetti

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Abstract :
International audience
When he sees Jaquenetta, Armado feels the urge to declare his love in verse, prophesying that he will “turn sonnet” (1.2). After having tried to woo the ladies with poems in vain, the men of Navarre decide to renounce their “figures pedantical” (5.2). In the play, the obvious function of poetry is to stand in contrast with plain prose, the usual dichotomy between elevated verse and prosaic prose being pushed to the limits and its polarities inverted. I would like to show that the role of verse goes much further than representing excessive refinement. Verse in Love’s Labour’s Lost is not only the medium through which much dialogue happens; it is regularly discussed on stage and it serves several purposes: a rhetorical purpose, of course (with disastrous results in the men’s communication strategy), but also a dramatic purpose. This rhetorical-dramatic use of verse will be the main focus of my analysis. I will deal with three aspects that can define “verse”, as they appear in the play: measure (with the frequent insistence on “numbers”); rhyme (often opposed to “reason”); poems (as material objects, i.e. potential props).
Published : 2015
Document Type : Journal articles
Affiliation : Université Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense


Laetitia Sansonetti, « "I shall turn sonnet" : la poésie dans Love's Labour's Lost », Cycnos, 2015. URL : https://hal.science/hal-03134202