Study Guide

Cloud Atlas Allusions

By David Mitchell

Allusions

Literary and Philosophical References

  • The Bible (1.4.5) (1.9.1) (1.15.1) (4.1.122) (11.1.41) (11.2.16)
  • Homer (1.13.1)
  • Matthew Arnold, "Dover Beach" (2.1.9)
  • John Keats (2.3.10)
  • Edgar Allan Poe, "The Fall of the House of Usher" (2.3.15)
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, Also sprach Zarathustra (2.3.17)
  • Herman Melville, "Benito Cereno" (2.3.20)
  • Shylock from William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (2.6.3)
  • Oscar Wilde, The Portrait of Dorian Gray (2.6.4)
  • Christina Rossetti (2.6.10)
  • Lord Byron, Don Juan (2.7.2)
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Wreck of the Hesperus" (2.7.17)
  • Paul Verlaine, poet (2.7.24)
  • Arthur Rimbaud, poet (2.7.25)
  • Friedrich Nietzsche (2.8.6)
  • H.G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau (2.8.6)
  • Norman Mailer (3.14.1)
  • Sword of Damocles (3.21.17)
  • Wallace Stevens (3.24.5)
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, Der Wille zur Macht (3.29.2)
  • Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (3.34.1)
  • Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (4.1.15)
  • Alain-Fournier (4.1.97)
  • Charles Dickens (4.1.98)
  • Heathcliff from Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (4.1.62)
  • Ghost of Christmas Past from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol (4.1.170)
  • Ghost of Christmas Future from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol (4.1.176)
  • Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (4.1.189)
  • Virgil in Dante's Inferno (4.1.193)
  • Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (4.1.198) (9.40.3)
  • W.W. Jacobs, The Monkey's Paw (4.1.204)
  • Sirens, from mythology (4.1.223)
  • Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (4.1.266)
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (4.1.271)
  • George Orwell (5.1.192)
  • Aldous Huxley (5.1.192)
  • Plato, Republic (5.1.200)
  • Epic of Gilgamesh (5.1.235)
  • Jorge Luis Borges, "Funes the Memorious" (5.1.235)
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein (5.1.235)
  • Beatrix Potter, Peter Rabbit (8.1.2)
  • Carl Sagan (8.1.13)
  • Primo Levi, Drowned and the Saved (8.1.19)
  • Zane Grey (8.1.24)
  • Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front (8.1.24)
  • Jan Arkless, No Meat for Me, Please! (8.1.24)
  • Sophocles, Oedipus the King (8.1.49)
  • William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus (8.1.219)
  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (8.1.326)
  • Diana (9.42.2)
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Brahma" (9.69.1)
  • Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn (10.1.2)
  • Gustave Flaubert (10.2.7)
  • Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (10.2.10)
  • Charles Dickens, David Copperfield(10.2.10)
  • A Thousand and One Nights (10.2.23)
  • Sir Walter Scott (10.4.2)
  • Mother Goose (10.5.22)
  • Axel Munthe (10.5.22)
  • Cerberus (10.7.7)
  • Rene Descartes (11.2.32)
  • Georges Cuvier (11.2.32)
  • Herman Melville, Typee (11.2.55)

Classical Music References

  • Ralph Vaughn Williams, Sea Symphony (2.1.10)
  • Samuel Bradley Noyes, Contrapuntals (2.1.10)
  • Erik Satie, Gnossiennes (2.1.12)
  • Frederic Chopin, Nocturne in F Major (2.2.4)
  • Domenico Scarlatti, 212th in A Major (2.2.4)
  • Fred Delius, Air and Dance (2.3.17)
  • Richard Wagner, Der Ring des Nibelungen (2.4.2)
  • Igor Stravinsky (2.4.2) (10.8.8)
  • Jean Sibelius (2.4.2)
  • Mily Balakirev (2.4.7)
  • Franz Schubert (2.4.7)
  • Sir Edward Elgar of Pomp and Circumstance (Elgar appears as a character in Part 2, Chapter 8)
  • Henry Purcell (2.8.2)
  • Anton Webern (2.8.2)
  • Rachmaninoff, Second Piano Concerto (4.1.158)
  • Frederick Delius (9.53.4)
  • Composer Billy Mayerl (10.4.2)
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (10.4.2) (10.5.5)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach (10.5.3)
  • Felix Mendelssohn (10.5.5)
  • Claude Debussy (10.5.23) (10.8.8)
  • Ludwig von Beethoven, "Ode to Joy" (10.7.10) (10.7.13)
  • Ludwig von Beethoven, Symphony No. Five (10.7.10)
  • Robert Schumann (10.7.12)
  • Ludwig von Beethoven, Eroica Symphony (10.8.8)
  • Alexander Scriabin, White Mass (10.8.8)

Historical References

  • California Gold Rush (referenced throughout Parts 1 & 11)
  • Captain Harewood (1.5.8)
  • Sir Percival (2.1.15)
  • Queen Boadicea (2.2.7)
  • Nefertiti (2.2.7) (4.1.92)
  • Anthony van Dyck, painter (2.2.7)
  • Bacchus (2.3.6)
  • World War I (2.3.6)
  • Sir Thomas Beecham (2.3.10)
  • Buchenwald concentration camp (3.5.1)
  • Bob Woodward and the Watergate expose (3.21.24)
  • "Por qué lloras blanca niña?" (3.22.2)
  • J. Edgar Hoover (3.27.1)
  • Henry Kissinger (3.29.1)
  • Pope Pius XIII (4.1.14) (not a real Pope... yet!)
  • Artist Francis Bacon (4.1.60)
  • Captain Cook (4.1.97)
  • Magellan (4.1.98)
  • David Lloyd George (4.1.140) (8.1.14)
  • Tutankhamen (4.1.156)
  • George H.W. Bush (4.1.181)
  • Nancy Reagan (4.1.181)
  • Historian Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (4.1.182) (5.1.235)
  • Hans Holbein (4.1.193)
  • Florence Nightingale (4.1.215)
  • Kim Jong-Il (5.1.192)
  • Mark Rothko (5.1.232)
  • Siddhartha Gautama (7.1.147-7.1.150)
  • Painter El Greco (8.1.255)
  • The Yalta Conference (8.1.325)
  • Frank Lloyd Wright (9.48.1)
  • Nebuchadnezzar (9.48.6)
  • Ronald Reagan (9.52.15)
  • Gerald Ford (9.56.8)
  • Henry Kissinger (9.58.8)
  • Jackson Pollock (9.66.1)
  • Willem de Kooning (9.66.1)
  • Joan Miró (9.66.1)
  • Andy Warhol (9.66.1)
  • The Last Supper (10.2.10)
  • Francis Kilver (10.2.11)
  • Hernan Cortes (10.8.10)
  • Tenochtitlan (10.8.10)
  • Captain Cook & the HMS Endeavor (11.1.2)

Pop Culture References

  • Joni Mitchell (3.2.10)
  • Shere Khan from The Jungle Book movie (3.3.5)
  • Alfred Hitchcock and various movies (3.5.1) (9.66.12)
  • Audrey Hepburn in Charade (3.5.2) (9.66.12)
  • The Incredible Hulk (3.8.1)
  • Jaws (3.8.2)
  • I Love Lucy (3.8.17)
  • Richard Pryor (3.14.1)
  • Bewitched (3.16.3)
  • John Denver, "Leaving on a Jet Plane" (3.18.1)
  • Snow White (3.19.1) (9.57.1) (9.70.1)
  • Starsky and Hutch (3.24.9)
  • Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks (3.24.12)
  • Bambi (3.31.1)
  • Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead (3.31.12)
  • Barbie (4.1.2)
  • "The Girl from Ipanema" (4.1.5)
  • David Bowie, "Space Oddity" (4.1.13)
  • Mary Poppins (4.1.18)
  • Humphrey Bogart (4.1.57)
  • Dirty Harry (4.1.80)
  • Nina Simone (4.1.140)
  • Sid Rotten, an old man's mix-up of Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols (4.1.151)
  • Spider-Man's arch-nemesis, The Green Goblin (4.1.175)
  • Soylent Green (4.1.271)
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the movie (4.1.292)
  • E.T. (4.1.306)
  • Cinderella (5.1.201)
  • Marilyn Monroe (7.1.172)
  • True Grit (8.1.14)
  • John Wayne (8.1.14)
  • The Creature from the Black Lagoon (8.1.17)
  • Kylie Minogue (8.1.140)
  • Mrs. Robinson from The Graduate (8.1.140)
  • Casablanca (8.1.143)
  • Narnia (8.1.156)
  • Musician John Cage (8.1.156)
  • Chet Baker, "Let's Get Lost" (8.1.255)
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind (8.1.255)
  • The Six Million Dollar Man (9.47.9)
  • Wonder Woman (9.55.1)
  • Harry Nilsson, "Everybody's Talkin'" (9.55.1)
  • Big Bird (9.64.4)
  • Donald Duck (9.64.11)
  • Scooby-Doo (9.64.11)
  • "Greensleeves" (10.2.10)