Harlequin Presents

That ‘70s Shakespeare and Beyond
  • Laurie E. Osborne


Throughout the late twentieth century and in to the millennium, we have grown accustomed to Shakespearean allusions in several forms of mass culture. Not only does a talking Jack Russell terrier play Prince Hal, Romeo, and Ariel on assorted episodes of the PBS show Wishbone, but the novelizations of those episodes rewrite Shakespeare for the terrier’s audience. From a Romeo and Juliet Pokémon episode (with warring Pokémon masters owning a pair of Pokémon lovers named Maria and Tony) to Shakespeare: The Animated Tales and comic book versions, children’s mass culture may seem a traditional locus for Shakespearean plots; however, adolescents are watching 10 Things I Hate about You (dir. Gil Junger, 1998) and playing computer games like The Curse of Monkey Island (1997), wherein they can see Slappy Cromwell rehearse bits of Speare, his forty-five minute compilation of Shakespeare plays, and Safecracker (2000), in which they read a parody called MacBreath, by William Shapesphere. Although they may have trouble finding it, they can even play Hamlet: A Murder Mystery (1997), which uses extensive footage from Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 film but allows the gamer as Hamlet to retrieve his ten wits, survive, and be crowned king of Denmark by punishing the guilty and sparing the innocent. They read novels like Carol Matas s Cloning Miranda (1999) and Welwyn Wilton Katz’s Come like Shadows (1993). Young fans of Bruce Colville’s Alien series probably also read his novel The Skull of Truth (1997), starring Yorick’s skull from Hamlet.


Mass Culture Happy Ending Classic Detective Love Story Popular Fiction 


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Copyright information

© Richard Burt 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurie E. Osborne

There are no affiliations available

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