"A consummation devoutly to be wished": Shakespeare in Popular Historical Romance Fiction

Publication year

the prevalence of references to Shakespeare may demonstrate the romance writer's understanding and acknowledgement of her audience and in particular of the amount of sophistication attained by her audience. (220)

By far the most referenced Shakespearean plays in romances are the tragedies, and in situating these works within the romance setting, with the happy ending guaranteed, the authors recast these tragedies as melodrama, which is the mass media of the theater. (224)

Shakespearean allusions [...] not only incorporate high culture into a traditionally popular genre, but also give authors possibilities for their heroines to demonstrate their power and intelligence as they achieve their happy endings in a way that the readers can participate in through their own knowledge of the plays. (227)