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English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles


Novelists heralded as Victorian Shakespeares frequently navigated the varied nineteenth-century practices of Shakespeare quotation (in the classroom in compilation books, in stage spoofs) to construct the relationship between narrator and character, and to negotiate the dialogue between Shakespeare's voice and the voice of the novel. This chapter looks at three novelists whose practices intersect and contrast: George Eliot, who resists the Bardolatrous imputation of a Shakespearean character's wisdom to its author by distinguishing her own characters' inept Shakespeare quotations from her narrative voice; Thomas Hardy, who claims the authority of Shakespearean pastoral, regional language against the glib quotations of his more cosmopolitan characters; and a latter-day Victorian, P.G. Wodehouse, who plays the irreverent, defamiliarising gambits of Victorian Shakespeare burlesques against the educational and commonplace authority that Shakespeare quotations accrue.

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Published Version


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This material has been published in Shakespeare and Quotation edited by Julie Maxwell & Kate Rumbold. This version is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Cambridge University Press.

Original Citation

Daniel Pollack-Pelzner
Quoting Shakespeare in the British novel from Dickens to Wodehouse.
In Shakespeare and Quotation, edited by Julie Maxwell & Kate Rumbold
2018, pages 136-155, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom



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