Study Guide

Other Visitors to Zedelghem in Cloud Atlas

By David Mitchell

Other Visitors to Zedelghem

Pomp and Circumstance

While at Zedelghem, Frobisher is all but locked away from the outside world. For a couple of long stretches, his only contact with people outside of Zedelghem comes from the visitors to the estate. The conductor Tadeusz Augustowski visits a couple of times, raving about Ayrs's compositions and how well they're being received. This serves the purpose of stoking Frobisher's anger about his lack of public recognition for these works.

The other notable visitor is Sir Edward Elgar. This guy is a real-life historical figure, the composer of Pomp & Circumstance. You've probably heard it. The interesting thing is that he admits to Frobisher that he composed that piece because he "needed the money, dear boy. But don't tell anyone" (2.8.2).

Although Cloud Atlas shows capitalism mixing with religion, creativity, and music in disastrous ways, this is one instance that shows that someone needing money as an incentive sometimes creates something eternal. It worked for Elgar, and it works for Frobisher's Cloud Atlas Sextet.