Taking Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven and Gary Schmidt's Wednesday Wars as test cases, this article explores generic considerations in modern novels that employ Shakespeare but do not retell or recast the plot of any particular work by Shakespeare. Questions to be considered include how the works employ the Shakespearean genres of comedy, tragedy, history, romance and tragicomedy to create their own genres – and, conceivably, to transcend them. The article will also consider the mainstream appropriation of Shakespeare in Mandel and Schmidt. The Three Fates by Linda Lê will be briefly examined as a less straightforward reworking of the material of a single Shakespeare play (King Lear).
Keith Jones is a Professor at the University of Northwestern–St. Paul and the author of Bardfilm: The Shakespeare and Film Microblog. His current interests are in Global Shakespeares, particularly in Asia and Africa. He teaches Shakespeare, Shakespeare and Film, and other courses in the Department of English and Literature at the University of Northwestern, and he is also a freelance editor.