Love's Labour's Won (lost/alternately-named Shakespeare play; existence unconfirmed; Pre-1598)

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First known published reference to the play.

Status: Existence unconfirmed

Love's Labour's Won is a Shakespearean comedy play written before 1598.[1] A reference to the play is made in Francis Meres' Palladis Tamia (known also as Wits Treasury) a historically relevant text as the first known critical account of Shakespeare's early work.[2] The play is listed here as "Loue Labours won" sounding like a play on the title of another Shakespeare play, "Love's Labour's Lost."

Shakespearean scholars have not definitely determined what Meres is noting here, but there are two widely supported theories: either the play is a lost sequel to Love's Labour's Lost or it is simply a different name attributed to an existing Shakespeare play.

The sequel theory is supported by the ambiguity of the ending of Love's Labour's Lost. The weddings that typically end Shakespeare plays (but are not often shown) are delayed for an unexpected reason, which would pave the way for a sequel.

However, the alternate name theory is also well backed up. Love's Labour's Won is not printed in 1623's First Folio of Shakespeare's works (a folio being a collected volume of Shakespeare's work, published after his death). Some theorists believe that Love's Labour's Won could be the alternate title of Much Ado About Nothing, Troilus and Cressida, or As You Like It, as many striking similarities or coincidences have been discovered.