Study Guide

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Allusions

By Douglas Adams


Culture and history

  • "two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change" (Introduction.6) is a reference to Jesus Christ
  • Genghis Khan (1.17) is the famous Mongolian conqueror 
  • Ford Prefect (1.55) is a type of British car
  • Arsenal (2.22) is a reference to the British soccer team, though they call it football there
  • The Visigoths (3.26) were a Germanic tribe, considered barbaric by some people who had stuff the Visigoths wanted
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Godspell (3.62) are musicals
  • Easter Island (4.7) is an island with giant stone heads
  • Nelson's Column (6.29) is a monument in London to Admiral Nelson, who led the British navy to some important victories in the Napoleonic War
  • Beethoven's Fifth (7.97) is a symphony that you might recognize if you heard
  • Bogart (6.30) is a reference to Humphrey Bogart, the American film star
  • Southend (9.21) is a British seaside town and resort
  • "Hamlet" (9.81) is a play by some guy
  • "to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before" (15.3) is a cheeky reference to the original Star Trek, which had a split infinitive in its opening narration: some people would prefer "to boldly go" be changed to "to go boldly"
  • "When you walk through the storm / hold your head up high ..." (17.79), which Eddie sings, is from the song "You'll Never Walk Alone", originally from the musical Carousel
  • The Guardian (22.36) is a left-leaning British newspaper
  • "How many roads must a man walk down?" (32.10) is a reference to the Bob Dylan song "Blowin' in the Wind" 

Astronomy and other sciences