9 Famous Book Titles Based on Shakespeare Lines

Posted by Hayley on April 20, 2016
Authors have been finding book title inspiration in the Bard's verses for centuries: four centuries, to be exact! For #ShakespeareWeek, we've collected a few contemporary examples. From a dystopian thriller to a young adult tearjerker, these are the stories Shakespeare has inspired from beyond the grave. How many have you read?


INFINITE JEST
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by David Foster Wallace
"Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite
jest
, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a
thousand times, and now how abhorr'd in my imagination it is!
My gorge rises at it."

From Hamlet


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BRAVE NEW WORLD
by Aldous Huxley

"Oh, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in 't!"

From The Tempest


WYRD SISTERS
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by Terry Pratchett
"Saw you the weird sisters?"

From Macbeth


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ON SUCH A FULL SEA
by Chang-rae Lee

"On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures."

From Julius Caesar


THE SOUND AND THE FURY
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by William Faulkner
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

From Macbeth


THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
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by John Green
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

From Julius Caesar


SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
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by Ray Bradbury
"By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes."

From Macbeth


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PALE FIRE
by Vladimir Nabokov

"And her pale fire she snatches from the sun:
The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves
The moon into salt tears: the earth's a thief,
That feeds and breeds by a composture stolen."

From Timon of Athens


SOMETHING ROTTEN
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by Jasper Fforde
"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

From Hamlet



If you had to name a book using a Shakespeare line, what title would you choose?
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Comments Showing 1-29 of 29 (29 new)

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message 1: by Patrik (new)

Patrik There should be more of such events! Loving the Shakespeare week so far <3


Amy (Other Amy) Every entry in the October Daye series has a title taken from Shakespeare.

I don't think I would use a Shakespeare title for anything I was responsible for; sets up too many expectations. I always enjoy finding these kinds of references, though.


message 3: by Morgan (new)

Morgan Didn't realize some of these were Shakespeare.


message 4: by John (new)

John Amy (Other Amy) wrote: "Every entry in the October Daye series has a title taken from Shakespeare.

I don't think I would use a Shakespeare title for anything I was responsible for; sets up too many expectations. I always..."


At least one of those should have been on the list


message 6: by Joseph (new)

Joseph McGarry Not a book title, but a movie title. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of? -- Hamlet, Act III, Scene 1 (the "To be or not to be" soliloquy


message 7: by Laura (new)

Laura Envious Casca (Inspector Hemingway Mystery #2) by Georgette Heyer
Georgette Heyer's Envious Casca

Look, in this place ran Cassius' dagger through.
See what a rent the envious Casca made.
Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb'd,
And, as he pluck'd his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Caesar follow'd it


message 8: by George (new)

George Let's not forget Pale Fire is named so because it was poking fun at the laziness of taking a line from Shakespeare and using it as a title.
"(But this transparent thingum does require
Some moondrop title. Help me, Will! Pale Fire.)"


message 9: by Heather (new)

Heather My sister wrote a novel (as yet unpublished) that she titled How Far that Little Candle, which comes from a line in The Merchant of Venice


message 10: by Steffi (new)

Steffi Don't forget the Hogarth Shakespeare series
http://crownpublishing.com/hogarth-sh...


message 11: by Kristijan (new)

Kristijan Don't forget "A Heart So White" by Javier Marias


message 12: by Odette (new)

Odette Brethouwer I didn;t knew that the title of The fault in our stars was based on Shakespeare, thanks for the interesting fact!


message 13: by Dustin (new)

Dustin Only one, unfortunately..


message 14: by Neocarleen (new)

Neocarleen Also, Exit, Pursued by a Bear, which is a (in)famous stage direction used in The Winter's Tale


message 15: by Aiyana (new)

Aiyana Patrik wrote: "There should be more of such events! Loving the Shakespeare week so far <3"

I agree!


message 17: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest

Richard III - St. Crispin's day speech
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.


message 18: by Valyssia (new)

Valyssia Leigh John wrote: "At least one of those should have been on the list ."

Agreed.


message 19: by Jean-Xavier (new)

Jean-Xavier You can add to the list Antoine Volodine’s novel titled “Bardo or not Bardo”.


message 20: by D.G. (last edited Apr 21, 2016 04:16AM) (new)

D.G. Agatha Christie used lots of Shakespeare's quotes to inspire titles and even plots!

By the Pricking of My Thumbs (from Hamlet like the Bradbury book)
Sad Cypress from Twelfth Night
Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid;


And there's of course the villain of Curtain Poirot's Last Case (Hercule Poirot, #39) by Agatha Christie , based on Iago from Othello.


message 21: by Megan (new)

Megan This is really interesting - I have read two of [the Shakespeare versions] in English class (Julius Caesar + Macbeth), and one of the modern day stories (The Fault in Our Stars). I'm looking forward to reading Huxley's Brave New World quite soon!


message 22: by Kek219 (new)

Kek219 Jgrace wrote: "Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest

Richard III - St. Crispin's day speech
From this day to the ending of the world,
But..."


I believe this speech is from Henry V - not Richard III.


message 23: by Morphing_kashi (new)

Morphing_kashi Hamlet is my favourite so if I had to name a book I would use something from there (possibly from that soliloquy everyone and their mother knows, perhaps something like "Conscience does make cowards of us all" or "Currents turn awry") or "The Last Syllable Of Recorded Time" from Macbeth.


message 24: by Linda (new)

Linda I would title a book "Sad Stories of the Deaths of Kings," which is from Richard II.


message 25: by Joseph (new)

Joseph McGarry Jgrace wrote: "Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest

Richard III - St. Crispin's day speech
From this day to the ending of the world,
But..."


Actually, this is from Henry V


message 26: by Olympia (new)

Olympia Gerald Another Agatha Christie title- ' Taken at the flood'
From Julius Caesar:
‘There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.’


message 27: by Joseph (last edited Apr 27, 2016 07:45PM) (new)

Joseph McGarry How about a play title. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard. The play is based on Hamlet.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead


message 28: by M.r.sethi (new)

M.r.sethi The quintessence of dust -- from Hamlet Act 2, scene 2

What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?


message 29: by Joseph (new)

Joseph McGarry Jgrace wrote: "Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest

Richard III - St. Crispin's day speech
From this day to the ending of the world,
But..."


Actually, this is Henry V.


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