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

Christine Sukic

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Abstract :
International audience
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 ofmany 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 inthe use of love letters as props, and the play’s characters become books, literally, being both “writing” and “written” characters; ink and penbecome part of the human body. Furthermore, the play also contains many comments on the art of writing, especially as Shakespeare himselfas a playwright — like several of his contemporaries — was part of a new class of writers or poets, with a different social background fromthat 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 playdoes not claim to imitate reality but creates a “secondary” type of reality through the numerous references to the act of writing.
Published : 2015
Document Type : Journal articles
Affiliation : Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherches sur les Langues et la Pensée - EA 4299 (CIRLEP) ; Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA)-Maison des Sciences Humaines de Champagne-Ardenne (MSH-URCA) ; Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA)-Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA)


Christine Sukic, « ‘I am sure I shall turn sonnet': Writing or Being Written in 'Love’s Labour’s Lost' », Cycnos, 2015. URL : https://hal.univ-reims.fr/hal-02511473