Q: Shakespeare "is full of quotations"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue May 19 14:37:21 UTC 2009

Do we know who originated the anecdote of someone saying of Hamlet
(or more generally of Shakespeare) "it/he is full of quotations"?

Googling leads me to William Wetmore Story, in _Conversations in a
Studio_.  This was published/printed in 1890, by both W. Blackwood &
Sons, Edinburgh, and Houghton Mifflin & Co., Boston.  And also to:

_Appleton's Journal_ June 1875 (p. 831), includes the anecdote as
from "Blackwood's for June".

_Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine_ for June 1875 (Vol. 117, No. 716),
"In a Studio.---Conversatoin No. II" (unattributed), p. 722:

_Bolton_.   You remind me of a story I heard the other day of an
English swell, whose education, whatever it might have been in Greek
and Latin (as much perhaps as Shakespeare's, according to Ben
Johnson's sneer), was not _liberally_ endowed with English
literature. Some of his fiends persuaded him to go and hear Hamlet,
which was then playing in London. On his return he was asked how he
liked it, and he said, "Very nice, very nice, but awfully full of quotations."


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