Tracing Dickens' interest in Shakespeare through his own reading and performance and through numerous theatrical, literary, and artistic sources, Shakespeare and Dickens argues that imaginative transformations of Shakespeare's words and ideas enrich all aspects of Dickens' writing, including aesthetic principles, language, imagery, plot, theme, tone, structure, and characterization. The book proceeds to examine theoretical ideas about influence and allusion as aspects of style, and analyzes ways in which Dickens typically employs references to Shakespeare. The final section catalogues approximately one thousand references to Shakespeare's plays and poems drawn from Dickens' fiction, essays, letters, and speeches.
List of illustrations; Preface; A note on the text and acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Introduction; Part I. 'A Shakespearean Lot': 1. 'Treading in the steps': early Shakespearean influences; 2. 'At his tongue's end': Dickens's remarkable memory; 3. 'Eloquent associations': W. C. Macready and Daniel Maclise; 4. 'As if I had been another man': Dickens as actor-manager; 5. 'The noblest of all dramatists': Dickens as theatre critic and editor; Part II. 'All the Removes and Definitions of Shakespeare's Touchstone': 6. 'Of imagination all compact': Dickens's aesthetic principles; 7. Definition of critical concepts; 8. Verbal 'fireworks': typical functions of Dickens's Shakespearean references; 9. 'The web I have spun': Shakespeareana in Dombey and Son and David Copperfield; Part III. 'Signs and Tokens' of Shakespeare: Preface to the catalogue; Catalogue of Dickens's references to Shakespeare; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.