Literary Influence of Shakespeare Upon Charles and John Wesley

Author: Rogal, Samuel J.
The notion of a literary influence of the plays of William Shakespeare upon the prose and verse of Charles and John Wesley begins with the realization that the brothers, the founders and leaders of eighteen-century English Methodism, possessed a command of the sound and the sense of the Elizabethan playwright’s works. Literally hundreds of allusions to and direct quotations from Shakespeare appeal in the Wesleys’ journal narratives, correspondence, sermon tracts, and poems. Did Shakespeare, as playwright, actually and directly influence what the Wesley thought and what they preached? Not really. The Wesleys found themselves influenced by Shakespeare’s characters, themes, and language – traditional qualities of English history and English life that proved important considerations within their overall evangelical mission.

Table of Contents

Prefatory Note
1. What Comprises Literary Influence?
2. Shakespeare and the Wesleys
3. Shakespeare in the Wesleys’ Prose and Poetry
4. Conclusion: The Measure of Shakespeare’s Influence upon the Wesleys
5. List of Works Cited and Consulted
6. General Index