why do people never talk about love labours lost tho its so funny? its literally just pretty girls making fun of annoying guys and its full of puns and is generally just incredible and tbh one of my fave shakespeare plays
When I was 17, I rewrote the songs for a musicalized version of ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost…The next year, I rewrote the songs to Brecht’s ‘Mother Courage.’ Then I finished my degree and said to Mom and Dad: ‘Can I have a year just doing theater? I’ll just wash dishes.‘
Is it possible that we don't preserve all of Shakespeare's work nowadays? What if he wrote more plays than the ones we know of?
He actually did.
We know for a fact that there are missing plays because there are records of the plays having been published or performed. A guy called Francis Meres published a book called Palladis Tamia in 1598 which includes a list of the plays Shakespeare had written up to that point, the list contains a reference to a certain Love’s Labours Won, which is mentioned again in a book register belonging to the stationer Christopher Hunt in 1603. Some scholars suggest this is a sequel to Love’s Labours Lost, others think it might be the alternative title of an existing play. The RSC went with this second suggestion and performed Much Ado About Nothing under the title of Love’s Labours Won in 2014 as a companion play to Love’s Labour’s Lost.
The other lost play called Cardenio, performed by the King’s Men in 1613 (from surviving performance records). A record that claims its authors were Shakespeare and Fletcher survives in a Stationer’s Register from 1653. Of course, this can’t necessarily be trusted because of Shakespeare’s name-value and the lateness of the entry, but the idea that it was written by Fletcher and Shakespeare coheres with the other known performance date and details we have of the play. It’s been speculated that this play would have been about the lover Cardenio from Cervante’s Don Quixote,the first part of which was published in translation in England in 1612. There’s a play by Lewis Theobald called Double Falsehood that claims to be a version of Cardenio, supposedly based on manuscripts of the play. It’s completely possible that this is indeed true, and that Theobald re-wrote the play just like other Shakespeare plays were re-written in the restoration, but if it is true, then the manuscripts he based his version off has been lost. Many scholars recognise the claim behind Theobald’s work, and the Arden Shakespeare published Double Falsehood as part of their collection of Shakespeare’s works. More recently, Gary Taylor has written a version od Cardenio which attempts to imaginatively reconstruct what Shakespeare’s Cardenio would have been like. It’s being premiered in the UK right now.
In other lost plays, there’s also some speculation about the earlier Hamlet, generally referred to as Ur-Hamlet, which almost certainly existed and which some scholars attribute to Shakespeare. The more popular theory is that it was written by Thomas Kyd.
Although it’s possible that there are others, it’s actually quite unlikely that there are plays we don’t know about that have been lost because early modern print culture was fast-paced, extremely consumerist and therefore full of records. Once Shakespeare’s name started to sell, lots of dodgy printers slapped his name on anything vaguely plausible to try and sell it. This suggests that if there was anything out there he’d actually written, it would have been published, legally or illegally, and if not published, at least entered on a register that would have worked to give a printer copyright over the work. So even if the copies didn’t survive, there would be some reference to it somewhere, just as there is for Love’s Labours Won and Cardenio.