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Who are some prominent authors who were inspired or influenced by William Shakespeare?

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brandih | eNotes Employee

Posted July 30, 2013 at 6:42 PM via web

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Who are some prominent authors who were inspired or influenced by William Shakespeare?

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kipling2448 | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 30, 2013 at 7:41 PM (Answer #1)

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The list of authors inspired or influenced by the works of William Shakespeare could fill a volume the size of the collected works of Shakespeare.  Arguably the most influential author in history, Shakespeare's work inspired many prominent authors, including Harold Bloom, the noted and controversial author and social critic; George Bernard Shaw, one of the England's most well-known playwrights; the poet John Keats; poet and novelist Thomas Hardy ["Hamlet has a host of friends...Two of his fellows, Rosencratz and Guildenstern..."]; the playwright Tom Stoppard titled his successful play "Rosencratz and Guildenstern are Dead" after Shakespeare's characters; W. Somerset Maugham, who, as have many others, titled his own works using Shakespeare quotes, including "Cakes and Ale," his novel inspired by Shakespeare's "Twelth Night" ["Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous/ There shall be no more cakes and ale?"]; and John Updike, who borrowed from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" for his novel Bottom's Dream ["I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream; it shall be called Bottom's dream, because it hath no bottom."]

Prominent authors too numerous to list in full have been inspired by William Shakespeare.  A list of book titles that borrow from Shakespeare's work alone would fill a page.  In addition to those already mentioned, Dorothy Parker [Not So Deep a Well], Aldous Huxley [Brave New World], Anthony Burgess [Nothing like the Sun], John Steinbeck [The Winter of Our Discontent], and Robert Stone [The Dogs of War, title taken from Shakespeare's line from "Julius Caesar," "Cry havoc, and let loose the dogs of war"]. 

It would b hard to find a successful author of classical works who was not in some way influenced or inspired by Shakespeare, so well respected remains his body of work. 

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