Talk:Shakespeare's influence

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WikiProject Shakespeare (Rated B-class, High-importance)
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Source Error[edit]

Source 31 no longer works. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Winkie (talkcontribs) 00:00, 12 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I removed the source. It hasn't worked for a year now. Moreover, I don't think it ever counted as a legitimate scholarly work: Jayne Aden was an undergraduate at Black Hills State University at the time she wrote the paper. I will come back to this page in a little while to remove quotation marks that no longer make sense (and perhaps put some "citation needed"s). Kier07 (talk) 20:00, 10 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Merge articles?[edit]

Should Shakespeare's influence and Shakespeare's influence on the English language be merged into Shakespeare's influence? I believe they should. At this point there isn't a need to have two separate articles on these subjects.--Alabamaboy 02:13, 18 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is discussion on this subject already at the List of English words invented by Shakespeare AfD discussion and Shakespeare's influence on the English language pages. Andy Jones and I both think they should all be combined here. Wrad 02:21, 18 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd leave the list of words as their own separate article, but definately combine Shakespeare's influence and Shakespeare's influence on the English language. But the list of words is too long--and too complete a unit as is--to combine into one article.--Alabamaboy 22:24, 18 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is no list anymore. Take a look at the article and the discussion on the deletion page. Wrad 22:26, 18 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As mentioned by Wrad above, I've already indicated elsewhere that I agree with a merge. One advantage is that there's quite a bit of unsourced OR in Shakespeare's influence on the English language, and a merge would be an opportunity to trim some of that. AndyJones 12:29, 30 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, now I've said that, I see the page has been considerably cleaned up and sourced since I last looked at it. AndyJones 12:32, 30 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Do we have a consensus? I appreciate only three users, all active members of the Shakespeare Wikiproject, have expressed a view. However in the complete absence of any dissenters I guess we can consider ourselves clear to go ahead. AndyJones 12:29, 30 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Let's do it. I think we'll see better exactly what we're dealing with as we go along anyway. Wrad 16:42, 30 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I added a cleanup box to the vocabulary section. The 2nd paragraph is just strange. It seems as though it's written by a college student who's writing beyond his or her level of understanding. I added a couple adjectives to rescue a sentence that claimed his language was more expressive because English at the time lacked grammar?! (True, Shakespeare didn't learn made-up grammar "rules" in school, but every language has grammar, structures that determine how words can be put together.) But more serious rewriting is needed. Craig Butz (talk) 06:31, 26 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I have merged in "Shakespeare's influence on the English language". Was quite easy. Good.

That leaves "list of words...". My problem here is twofold:

  1. Lots of duplication with the newly merged article. Therefore a more careful line-by-line merge will be required.
  2. No inline citation at List..., so it's difficult to identify which parts are sourced from where. I'm really quite worried about merging for that reason: in the newly merged page it will be even more difficult to work out the source for any sentence. AndyJones 07:48, 7 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Vocabulary (again)[edit]

The vocabulary section has an incorrect figure. Shakespeare used 20,138 "base" words, not 20,138 "new" words. His works are credited with the first known written instance of around 1,700 words. (talk) 00:11, 13 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I had some small doubt about the number of words Shakespeare is said here to have coined, when someone cited the 20K words figure in a discussion elsewhere and cited Wikipedia. 20K+ neologisms would be over 2% of the total word count of his plays. Also, any wordage about about the 1700 (or however many) neologisms he's credited with should note that these are words for which Shakespeare is the first known user of -- in most cases we can't know whether he actually coined them or if they were in common use in speech at the time but didn't happen to be used in print or manuscript sources that have survived before Shakespeare. --Jim Henry (talk) 01:40, 16 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The vocabulary section propounds a myth that originates from a misunderstanding of the preparation of the Oxford English Dictionary. The section contradicts the well-cited dicussion in the article Coinage of words by William Shakespeare. --Romanempire (talk) 00:42, 20 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Obsessive Compulsive Dictionary"?[edit]

Oh come on. That's gonna go.yes

MaryJones (talk) 01:48, 16 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

redirect from "List of English words invented by Shakespeare"?[edit]

There is of course a huge problem in redirecting 'List of English words invented by Shakespeare' to this page - namely, that this page doesn't feature a list of English words invented by Shakespeare. I can infer how this happened, but the average user won't - they'll just be confused. Thoughts? MattLohkamp 13:52, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

A good point!
I’ve made List of English words invented by Shakespeare instead redirect to Wiktionary, where there in fact is a page of words credibly invented by Shakespeare.
—Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 02:22, 21 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Scope - world literature?[edit]

There seems to be nothing at all here about Shakespeare's influence outside literature in English. Really, a big failing in perspective. Charles Matthews (talk) 19:45, 8 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • {sofixit}? AndyJones (talk) 20:59, 8 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Well, the "Influence on literature" section is tiny, anyway; and the whole emphasis on English language gives the total article an oddish slant, in my view. The business about "characters" could have been written 120 years ago? So I'm not really understanding the composition of the article. It would be more usual, I think, to go for global perspective first. Charles Matthews (talk) 09:25, 9 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Merger history[edit]

Just a note on merger history, for reference; so far 2 pages have been merged here (links to pre-merger versions)

—Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 06:57, 21 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Exaggerated number of coinages[edit]

An enduring myth is that Shakespeare coined a vast number of words, and this is a central topic of the article (as reflected in the discussion above) – some commentary follows.

This is idiotic on its face, as it supposes a popular playwright used a significant number of words that his audience had never heard before. Rather, Shakespeare is the earliest attestation given (earliest citation), notably in the OED (and, earlier, Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language), both because he is a famous early English writer, and because his language was more colloquial than much of the archaic, stilted language that was previously fashionable, hence captured many more recent words and senses.

This is not to take away from his undeniable artistic skill and influence – many phrases are almost certainly original to him, English at the time was producing many new words, and by poetic license he likely expanded vocabulary and senses beyond what they were before, but extravagant claims (20,000 words!) should be refuted, and claims for “Shakespeare coined 1,000 words” or the like should be cited – in a predominantly illiterate culture, words were generally widely used before being set to paper.

For reference, the last version of Coinage of words by William Shakespeare gives a useful discussion (and references) of this topic.

Hope this helps – I expect this to be a continuing topic due to the prevalence of the misunderstanding.

—Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 07:16, 21 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Influence on the English language"[edit]

There are two sections titled "Influence on the English language," someone might want to change that. -- (talk) 23:17, 15 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Shakespeare wasn't just one of the greatest authors in England, but in the world. French lit was hugely influence by him. In the late 19th – mid 20th centuries in Germany, it was popular to claim that Shakespeare was German, as he and Beethoven were the fathers of German lit and music. Verdi felt he was inadequate to make Shakespearean operas. And a large chunk of Kurosawa's output was Shakespearean. His influence has been nearly global, and the article should cover that. — kwami (talk) 13:22, 23 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


That is a fine example of what happens when articles are neither protected nor properly watched. Argh. And it's not like it was all OR without any refs anywhere; some of it was even augmented with inline refs in the meanwhile. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 21:03, 4 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My restoration of the theatre section, which was deleted even earlier, should bring a little bit of balance back to the article, which seemed to be mostly about language now. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 21:51, 4 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The first recorded 'Your Mom' joke?[edit]

In Act IV, Scene II, Titus Andronicus
DEMETRIUS: Villain, what hast thou done?
AARON: That which thou canst not undo.
CHIRON: Thou hast undone our mother.
AARON: Villain, I have done thy mother.

Shakespeare, or whoever it was writing as him, invents the Your Mom joke in the 16th century? (From a article, 5 Dirty Jokes in Modern Movies) Knowing someone would probably delete it if I just put it in by itself, I looked it up; shows the same text here (search for "Villain, what hast thou done?".) It's linked on the 'maternal insult' page linked above. --StarChaser Tyger (talk) 09:23, 18 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: MOVE ALL. Nathan Johnson (talk) 23:31, 8 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

– Shakespeare is an English writer, uniquely considered to be the greatest writer in the English language, and in the English-speaking world including his given name whilst discussing any aspect of him and his work is unnecessary. Customarily the surname by itself is used to refer not only to the man, but his works. Most of these articles were started using the surname only, as per custom in the Shakespearean community, but several editors, unfamiliar with the topic and who almost exclusively edit with bots, misguidedly changed them.--Relisted. Cúchullain t/c 19:25, 29 April 2013 (UTC) Tom Reedy (talk) 17:18, 19 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On the whole I agree with Tom. Shakespeare is "Shakespeare", just as Michelangelo is "Michelangelo". We don't need to retitle the article on Pietà (Michelangelo) to Pietà (Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni), just in case someone confuses him with Michelangelo Antonioni. Spelling of Shakespeare's name was pointlessly retitled to Spelling of William Shakespeare's name even though it's all about the surname, and never once addresses the spelling of "William". However, I must admit I like to have the freedom to choose the title that seems most appropriate in individual cases. Sometimes that is for largely non-scholarly reasons (one reason I prefer "Spelling of Shakespeare's name" is the rhythm and alliteration). I would resist rigid consistency, though IA understand that's a difficult battle, since some editors are very keen on it, and I am myself inconsistent in my attitude to consistency. Paul B (talk) 18:01, 19 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Paul make a request to have it changed. I'd add it to this one but I'm afraid I'd screw it up. Tom Reedy (talk) 21:16, 19 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support all. I have no problem with the author being at William Shakespeare, but there is no need to include William in all of these other articles. Apteva (talk) 20:24, 19 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Weak Support. I suppose just Shakespeare is more succinct, and he's certainly PT for Shakespeare. Zarcadia (talk) 22:31, 19 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. No cogent reason for move. Xxanthippe (talk) 22:55, 19 April 2013 (UTC).Reply[reply]
    • To make the titles shorter. It is very common with a title "Something name" to have the auxiliary articles named "name about". Apteva (talk) 00:43, 20 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose all They should match the main article. -- (talk) 04:14, 20 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment: The template tells us that arguments should be based on article title policy. According to Deciding on an article title, "Article titles are based on how reliable English-language sources refer to the article's subject." Ask any Shakespeare academic how Shakespeare's influence, reputation, religion, life, or plays are commonly referred to, whether "William Shakespeare's XYZ" or "Shakespeare's XWZ", and they will tell you almost unanimously that the surname by itself is most used. I also went to WorldCat and entered "Shakespeare's" in the title field and ran the same search with "William Shakespeare's". "Shakespeare's" returned 39,997 titles, "William Shakespeare's" returned 3,099 titles. Deducting the latter from the former, we get 36,798 "Shakespeare's" to 3,099 "William Shakespeare's", a proportion of 11.87 to 1.

In addition, the section gives five criteria that should be met when choosing an article title: recognizability, naturalness, precision, conciseness, and consistency. Of those five, "William Shakespeare's …" meets only the first, recognizability, while "Shakespeare's …" meets all five. The Wikipedia:WikiProject Shakespeare is not titled "WikiProject William Shakespeare", nor is the Portal:Shakespeare named "Portal:William Shakespeare", nor should they be.

Furthermore, WP:TITLECHANGES states, "Nor does the use of a name in the title of one article require that all related articles use the same name in their titles; there is often some reason for inconsistencies in common usage."

I would be interested in hearing any opposing discussions based on article title policy. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:53, 20 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In fact, they were all unilaterally moved without discussion: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] Tom Reedy (talk) 17:01, 20 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support because "Shakespeare" on its own is almost invariably a reference to the bard, therefore there is no ambiguity in these articles being titled without "William". Shakespeare quite rightly redirects to the bard's article and not a dab page. Green Giant (talk) 20:05, 23 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Mild oppose all because our audience is not specialists, so it's not really important what specialists use; also, do we have RS's saying that this is the more common way for a general audience to refer to (for instance) plays written by this man? Red Slash 23:31, 23 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:COMMONNAME states that Wikipedia "prefers to use the name that is most frequently used to refer to the subject in English-language reliable sources. This includes usage in the sources used as references for the article", so evidently policy considers that the terms most commonly used by specialists are important. And there are plenty of WP:RS sources that explicitly discuss the name's expanded significance in regard to referring to the works, although I don't really see the relevance of it since AFAIK it's not a requirement for naming an article. Tom Reedy (talk) 13:48, 24 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think Shakespeare in Love was titled with "specialists" in mind. It iassumed that a mass audience would not think it was a film about Nicholas Shakespeare, just as Lincoln was not about Lincoln Roberts, or a town. I know of no instance in which we have required an RS saying that a particular name is more common to conform to WP:COMMONNAME. That would unworkable, and in any case it would cut both ways. Paul B (talk) 09:44, 28 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment There's also the animacy of the English genitive. "Shakespeare's influence" sounds like his personal influence, analogous to his religion and his plays. However, what we really mean is the "influence of Shakespeare" – not just of him himself, but of his plays etc. — kwami (talk) 01:01, 28 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't understand this point. "Shakespeare's influences" might imply influences on Shakespeare, but I'm not at all sure what the influence of Shakespeare himself means. His influence is the influence of his plays and poems. It's no going to be about people who imitated his fashion sense. In any case his works are himself. Paul B (talk) 09:56, 28 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not influences on Shakespeare: just the opposite. But we don't say "the clock's hands", we say "the hands of the clock". There's a partial animacy distinction between the two. "Shakespeare's influence" sounds like the influence he had on his family, neighbors, and contemporaries. When we're speaking of the influence of his plays and poems, we're no longer speaking of the man himself, so the preposition works better than the genitive. A relatively minor detail that's independent of whether we include his first name or not. — kwami (talk) 21:51, 28 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I knew you were not referring to influences on Shakespeare. Hence the phrase "the influence of Shakespeare himself" and the flippant comment about "people who imitated his fashion sense". As far as I'm concerned the "influence of Shakespeare" means exactly the same thing, and is just as likely (or rather unlikely) to be misread to refer to his personal influence on his friends and/or family. Paul B (talk) 13:24, 30 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support—Heck, I'm agreeing with Apteva??? Shakespeare is so ubiquitous and unlikely to be confused, his first name is unnecessary. I don't perceive the differences Kwami is discussing, between X's influence and the influence of X. Tony (talk) 13:16, 30 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support per WP:BRD and WP:PRECISE. You don't have to be a specialist to know that "Shakespeare" refers to William, absent other context. --BDD (talk) 16:13, 30 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support: More succinct! Illegitimate Barrister (talk) 13:00, 1 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support: It is likely that only one Shakespeare has had a reputation such that it warrants its own article, and so on for the other articles. Plus, it's more straightforward. Epicgenius(talk to mesee my contributions) 16:34, 8 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Came here to oppose this but it really makes sense. William Shakespeare's Influence is awkward, and certainly not what someone describing it would say. ~ Amory (utc) 17:20, 8 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Close discussion request I think the consensus is pretty clear. Would some admin please close this discussion and make the moves or refer me to instructions on how to do so? Tom Reedy (talk) 19:57, 8 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See WP:ANRFC. --BDD (talk) 20:01, 8 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Cultural influence vs linguistic influence[edit]

It seems to me that these are two different areas. "Shakespeare's influence" seems to indicate discussion of derivative works such as Verdi, Berlioz, Césaire et al, while this article is mostly focused on his influence on the English language only. This is probably because of the merger with the "Shakespeare's influence on the English language" article, but I think it would be more useful to split them into two again: one article an in-depth look at his effect on the English language, and one about his influence on artistic works and culture across the world. Kilburn London (talk) 21:50, 16 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

American Acclimatization Society[edit]

Perhaps a mention of Shakespeare's influence on the introduction of the European starling to North America. The impact of which approach $2 billion annually. ZerglingChamp (talk) 02:24, 22 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Repeated vandalism of this page by IPs gives a case for WP:Semi-protection. Xxanthippe (talk) 22:29, 11 February 2016 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:Shakespeare's handwriting which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RMCD bot 13:36, 24 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This page contains an infobox that is almost identical to the one in the main article (William Shakespeare) although slightly different (presumably changes that where made to the main article but not copied here). It seems strange to use Infobox person in a non-biographical article and is inconsistent with similar articles about Shakespeare such as Religious views of William Shakespeare and Reputation of William Shakespeare which just contain The Chandos portrait. I think a similar thing should be done here (infobox replaced with a single image) as all of this information in the box can be found on the main article.

If we want to keep the infobox here I think it should be turned into it's own template so that it can be kept always constant between the two articles. Cakelot1 (talk) 13:48, 22 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]