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The Original Version of Love’s Labour’s Lost

With a Conjecture as to Love's Labour's Won
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Henry David Gray
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The value of restoring what is, in a sense, a lost play of Shakespeare (though lost only in its own overcoat) is not alone that we may rightly consider his characteristics at the start, but that we may observe precisely how he revised his work at a later date. In this instance we must admit that the revision was hastily and carelessly done, and consisted almost wholly in engrafting upon his early comedy such new features as would be most likely to please the sentimental and pageant — loving queen; and this cannot be taken as typical of his method. But what Shakespeare did in any instance is of the greatest consequence. I have attempted in this essay to furnish a key to the original version of Love's Labour's Lost, so that anyone interested may mark the passages in his own working edition of the play. I have attempted to justify my conclusions in a general introduction, saving more detailed considerations for supplementary notes. In the latter will be found also such textual emendations as I care to suggest. I am indebted for friendly comments to my colleagues, Professor R. M. Alden and Professor W. D. Briggs.

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