Shakespeare and Dickens: The Dynamics of Influence

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Shakespeare and Dickens, first published in 1996, traces Dickens' own interest in Shakespeare from childhood, not only through his own reading and performance but also through numerous theatrical, literary and artistic sources. The book proceeds to examine theoretical ideas about influence and allusion as aspects of style and analyses ways in which Dickens typically employs references to Shakespeare. It is argued that imaginative transformations of Shakespeare's words and ideas enrich all aspects of Dickens' writing, including aesthetic principles, language, imagery, plot, atmosphere, theme, tone, structure, foreshadowing and characterization. Dombey and Son and David Copperfield are examined to demonstrate the sophisticated manner in which Dickens engages the reader in a continuous process of reassessment by creating a dense network of quotations, allusions and echoes and integrating successive references to comment upon, modify, or amplify prior usage. The final section contains an annotated catalogue of approximately one thousand references to Shakespeare's plays and poems drawn from Dickens' fiction, essays, letters and speeches.

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Cambridge University Press
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