The works of Shakespeare have given us many things, from the sheer joy of the language to the more mundane and pragmatic, like book titles. Many an author, when searching for that just-right title of a forthcoming novel, have turned to Shakespeare's works for inspiration.
What are some well-known novels whose titles are quotations from Shakespeare?
Here are just some of the many novels whose titles are pulled directly from Shakespeare's works, and where they were pulled from:
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley: Aldous Huxley lifted his title from Miranda's exclamations in Act V, Scene 1, of The Tempest:
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world
That has such people in't!
The Glimpses of the Moon, by Edith Wharton: When Hamlet sees his father's ghost, he speaks these lines (from Act I, Scene 4) whence Edith Wharton found her novel's title:
What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel,
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous . . .
Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace: In Act V, Scene 1, of Hamlet, the skull of Yorick, one of the king's jesters, is unearthed and handed to Hamlet. He responds with this well-known sentence that revealed the perfect title to David Foster Wallace's magnum opus:
Alas, poor Yorick! — I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!
Pale Fire, by Vladimir Nabokov: Melancholy and exasperated by the hangers-on his wealth has attracted, Timon tosses some gold to a group of bandits (who claim they are not bandits) and rouses them to thievery. In Act IV, Scene 3, of Timon of Athens, he expounds on the natural existence of thievery, from which this Lolita author plucks a perfect title:
I'll example you with thievery:
The sun's a thief, and with his great attraction
Robs the vast sea; the moon's an arrant thief,
And her pale fire she snatches from the sun;
The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves
The moon into salt tears; . . .
The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner: As Macbeth, in Act V, Scene 5, watches his plans unravel around him, Seyton, his armorer, finds a group of women crying over the dead body of Lady Macbeth and alerts Macbeth of his wife's suicide. William Faulkner fashioned the title of this novel from part of Macbeth's response:
Out, out, brief candle!
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,
Time Out of Joint, by Philip K. Dick. In Act I of Hamlet, the title character learns from his father's ghost that he (Hamlet's father) was murdered by Hamlet's uncle Claudius. Horatio and Marcellus learn of the treachery as well, but Hamlet makes them swear an oath that they will not reveal their knowledge so that Hamlet might ferret out and reveal Claudius's guilt. The act ends with these lines from Hamlet, some of which became the title to Philip K. Dick's science fiction novel:
Let us go in together;
And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.
The time is out of joint: — O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
Twice-Told Tales, by Nathaniel Hawthorne: Hawthorne found this title from the pessimistic lines of the Dauphin Lewis in Act III, Scene 3 or 4 (depending on the rendition), of King John:
There's nothing in this world can make me joy.
Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man;
And bitter shame hath spoil'd the sweet world's taste,
That it yields nought but shame and bitterness.
Under the Greenwood Tree, by Thomas Hardy: As You Like It, Act II, Scene 5, opens with Amiens, an attendant of the usurped Duke Senior, singing this song, from which Thomas Hardy extracted this novel's title:
Under the greenwood tree,
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird's throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither;
Here shall he see
But winter and rough weather.
Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury. Bradbury acquired this title from the Weird Sisters in Act IV, Scene 1, of Macbeth, where the second sister states, just before Macbeth enters,
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
The Winter of Our Discontent, by John Steinbeck: Steinbeck lifted this title from the very first line of King Richard III. When the play opens, Richard, Duke of Gloster (who would become King Richard III), steps out onto a London street and declares,
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
This is just a smattering of literary titles inspired by Shakespeare. There are literally hundreds of novels, biographies, short stories, histories, and plays whose titles are or include direct quotations from something Shakespeare first penned, and more are being created every day.