Shakespearean allusion and the detective fiction of Georgette Heyer

HOPKINS, Lisa (2016). Shakespearean allusion and the detective fiction of Georgette Heyer. Palgrave Communications, 2 (16052), 1-7. (In Press)

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Link to published version:: 10.1057/palcomms.2016.52


This essay argues that Shakespearean allusion is a recurrent and important factor in the detective novels of Georgette Heyer. Though the master text for Heyer is Hamlet, a variety of Shakespeare plays are referred to, and mention of them functions in multiple ways. Quotations from Shakespeare reveal truths about the characters and comment on their situations and personalities. They also afford points of entry for people previously unacquainted to talk to each other, and finally they have effects in terms of genre, since their presence can, with equal facility, tend towards comic relief (in line with a tradition in Golden Age crime fiction of using Macbeth in particular to comic effect) or work to add gravitas and resonance. The use of Shakespearean allusion is thus central to Heyer’s technique. This article is published as part of a collection to commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Humanities Research Centre
Identification Number: 10.1057/palcomms.2016.52
Depositing User: Lisa Hopkins
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2016 16:41
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2016 21:18

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