Shakespeare and the Eighteenth-Century Novel - pr_289158

Shakespeare and the Eighteenth-Century Novel

Cultures of Quotation from Samuel Richardson to Jane Austen



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The eighteenth century has long been acknowledged as a pivotal period in Shakespeare's reception, transforming a playwright requiring 'improvement' into a national poet whose every word was sacred. Scholars have examined the contribution of performances, adaptations, criticism and editing to this process of transformation, but the crucial role of fiction remains overlooked. Shakespeare and the Eighteenth-Century Novel reveals for the first time the prevalence, and the importance, of fictional characters' direct quotations from Shakespeare. Quoting characters ascribe emotional and moral authority to Shakespeare, redeploy his theatricality, and mock banal uses of his words; by shaping in this way what is considered valuable about Shakespeare, the novel accrues new cultural authority of its own. Shakespeare underwrites, and is underwritten by, the eighteenth-century novel, and this book reveals the lasting implications for both of their reputations.

Product code: 9781107132405

ISBN 9781107132405
Dimensions (HxWxD in mm) H235xW157xS16
No. Of Pages 254
Publisher Cambridge University Press
This study shows that Shakespeare is a very significant presence in major novels of the eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, from epigraphs to descriptions of performances of his plays, and from allusions in polite conversation to Shakespearean knowledge as a mark of erudition among men and women alike.