So today, I decided to catch up on some reading. To recap from my first post about my project: I am looking into the occurrence of Shakespearean epigraphs in 18th century novel-- why they occur, how they occur, and if there is any correlation between the treatment of the novel in the 18th century, and the Shakespearean play.
To explore this thoroughly, a few questions need to be answered. Firstly; why Shakespeare? It's clear that the majority of the epigraphs we come across in the 18th century are taken from some Shakespearean play, so I want to find out about how Shakespeare was treated in this century, and the influence of his works. To do this, I am reading "Shakespeare and the Eighteenth Century" to get some more background that could help me find the correlation between the novel and the Bard in the eighteenth century.
Turns out that the way Shakespeare was viewed in the literary world of the eighteenth century is pretty similar to the way we think of humanities scholarship in the world of academia today-- characterised by reimagining and reworking something that already exists into something new, to establish that field of interest by exploring it from a different angle. Peter Sabor and Paul Yachnin go into great detail in the introduction of "Shakespeare and the Eighteenth Century" to outline just how much the reception of Shakespeare changed between the time he was alive, and after his death. They describe an enormous rise in receptions to Shakespearean texts, congruent to the rise of the novel, and the more I read about the practice of establishing the authority of Shakespeare, the more I am interested to see what kinds of connections I can make between Shakespeare and the novel.
I've already compiled a partial list of the novels that contain Shakespearean epigraphs, so, moving forward, I want to start getting the OCR versions of these texts so I can topic model them against the epigraphs later.