All thirty-seven of Shakespeare’s plays and his narrative poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. I read or re-read all of them and watched film versions of all the plays in one year of preparation. Several of the characters (Casavero, Timothy, and Horatio most obviously) are influenced by Shakespeare, quote him and at times even act out scenes in their own lives. At times their speech and thought are influenced in general by having read Shakespeare in general but there are also some very specific allusions. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is perhaps the most apparent influence as Horatio paraphrases the entire play for an evening’s entertainment and some of my readers might see the whole trek in search of angels as a variation on that particular play and that my characters are variously aware of it as well. There are also specific quotes and/or paraphrases from The Winter’s Tale and Two Gentlemen of Verona, but it might take quite the devotee of the bard to guess that I had in mind Philip the Bastard taunting the Duke of Austria in King John when I had Timothy run off Johnny Reed the first time they met on Midsummer Festival Day and that Timothy himself is aware of the parallel.
Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales are also prominent in The Canterbury Tales in Neverland with the twist that only one character, Rollo, is even remotely aware of it. For the other’s Chaucer’s Knight, Pardoner, Nun and Priest have all long since been lost in detail but fragmentary memories have been passed down and mixed with more recent memories of Star Wars, Star Trek, and brand new invention. For accuracy’s sake I must note I did not re-watch the sci fi, but I did use my work on this book as my motivation to finally read Chaucer.
Also in the mix are Neil Gaimon’s Coraline, Stardust, and the film versions of those books; Voltaire’s Candide; the second and sixth in the Harry Potter series, both book and film; The Tales of the Arabian Nights; and The Bible of which I re-read The Book of Genesis.