I've read broadly this semester, largely in helping our senior English majors with their Senior Thesis Projects (also called Capstone Projects).
As always, I've kept my eyes peeled for Shakespeare.
In Little Women, it didn't take long to find. In the first chapter, the little women are planning to put on a dramatic performance, and Jo wants to do it up right, responding pseudo-modestly to an exclamation by Beth:
"I don't see how you can write and act such splendid things, Jo. You're a regular Shakespeare!" exclaimed Beth, who firmly believed that her sisters were gifted with wonderful genius in all things.
That's all quite delightful, but I wanted to provide a bit of "value-added" content, so let me point you toward a new release this year by W. W. Norton: The Annotated Little Women. It's quite a delightful work, and it helps contextualize and explain a lot of the book. Here's the run-up to the scene I just quoted:"Not quite," replied Jo modestly. "I do think The Witch's Curse, an Operatic Tragedy is rather a nice thing; but I'd like to try Macbeth, if we only had a trapdoor for Banquo. I always wanted to do the killing part. 'Is that a dagger that I see before me?'" muttered Jo, rolling her eyes and clutching at the air, as she had seen a famous tragedian do.
"No, it's the toasting fork, with Mother's shoe on it instead of the bread. Beth's stage-struck!" cried Meg, and the rehearsal ended in a general burst of laughter.
With the annotations, we're able to learn that Alcott herself saw Edwin Forrest play Macbeth—and that she was not impressed.
Now it's off to the film versions to see how much Shakespeare we can find there!
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