Introduction: Allusion as Revision

  • Peter Erickson


“Shakespeare Say,” Rita Dove’s surefire title, invokes the compulsive, pleasurable habit of quoting our most quotable author. One might even hear in “Shakespeare Say” a humorous suggestion of “Simon Says,” the ritual game of recitation and repetition. Dove’s game, however, turns out to be entirely different. Having prompted our anticipation of Shakespearean allusion, she refuses to fulfill the expectation she has set up. The poem uses no words from Shakespeare whatsoever. Hence Shakespeare is present in name only; the sole allusion is to an author whose role is quite literally nominal.


Black Folk Divergent Force Break Speech Comprehensive Conceptual Framework Ferent Game 
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Copyright information

© Peter Erickson 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Erickson

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