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Literary Allusion Title
A common way to name works:

  1. Pick some reasonably apropos quote from something famous. William Shakespeare and The Bible are as always the most common.
  2. Either use that as your title, or take some reasonably indicative noun phrase from it.
  3. Optionally, mess with the phrasing slightly to make it work better as a title or fit the setting.
  4. If all this sounds like too much work, pick any three or four consecutive words from William Butler Yeats' poem "The Second Coming".
  5. Bonus points if a character quotes the title in the work itself.

Despite the name, the quote need not come from literature per se. Common non-literary sources for titles include political speeches and songs (but see Titled After the Song for examples of the latter). Many of these quotes will be Stock Quotes. A subtrope of Shout-Out, and often accompanied by an Inspiration Nod. Also see Stock Episode Titles.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    The Bible 

Comics
  • The Sandman
    • More than Rubies, multi-issue arc (Proverbs 31:10)
  • Watchmen
    • "The Judge of All the Earth," Chapter 3 (Genesis 18:25)
    • "A Brother to Dragons," Chapter 7 (Job 30:29)
  • Kingdom Come, mini-series by Mark Waid and Alex Ross (Matthew 6:10 or Luke 11:2)
  • Uncanny X-Men #100, "Greater Love Hath No X-Man" (from John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this...")
  • Astro City #17, "The Voice of the Turtle" (Song of Solomon 2:12)
  • Shock SuspenStories #10, "...So Shall Ye Reap!" (Galatians 6:7)

Fanfiction

Film
  • The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman. The first line in the movie is even someone quoting the Bible passage where the phrase is mentioned. (Revelation 8:1)
  • Through a Glass Darkly (Sĺsom i en Spegel - 1961) Bergman (1 Corinthians 13:12)
  • The 6th Day (Genesis 1:31)
  • Joyful Noise (Psalms 66:1, 81:1, 95:1, 95:2, 98:4, 98:6, and 100:1)

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • Babylon 5
    • In The Beginning (movie made from the pilot) (Genesis 1:1 or John 1:1)
    • "Revelations"
    • "Passing Through Gethsemane" (allusion to Matthew 26:36 or Mark 14:32)
  • Battlestar Galactica (reboot)
    • "Valley of Darkness" (Psalms 23:4)
    • "Exodus"
    • "Rapture" (1 Thessalonians 4:17 via some confusing etymology)
    • "He That Believeth In Me" (John 7:38)
    • "Revelations"
  • Dollhouse
    • "The Left Hand" (Matthew 6:3)
  • Due South
    • "An Eye for an Eye" (Exodus 21:24)
  • ER
    • "My Brother's Keeper" (Genesis 4:9)
    • "Thy Will Be Done" (Matthew 6:13)
  • Heroes
    • "Genesis"
    • "Our Father" (Matthew 6:9 or Luke 11:2)
    • "Brother's Keeper" (Genesis 4:9)
    • "Upon This Rock" (Matthew 16:18)
  • LOST
    • "Exodus"
    • "The 23rd Psalm"
    • "Stranger in a Strange Land" (Exodus 2:22)
    • Possibly "316" in reference to the passage John 3:16
    • Possibly "Numbers"
  • Millennium
    • "Powers, Principalities, Thrones, and Dominions" (Colossians 1:16)
    • "Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me" (Playing off of "Get thee behind me, Satan" in Luke 4:8)
    • "The Fourth Horseman" (Revelation 6:7)
    • "Through a Glass Darkly" (1 Corinthians 13:13)
  • Northern Exposure
    • "All Is Vanity" (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
    • "Revelations"
    • "Heal Thyself" (Luke 4:23)
  • Power Rangers RPM
    • "Brother's Keeper" (Genesis 4:9)
  • Quantum Leap
    • "The Right Hand of God'' (multiple occurrences including Psalms 63:6 and Mark 16:19)
    • "Thou Shalt Not" (Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5)
    • "Deliver Us From Evil" (Matthew 6:13)
  • Red Dwarf
    • "Legion" (Mark 5:9)
  • Smallville
    • "Exodus"
  • Star Trek
    • "Sins of the Father" (TNG) (Exodus 20:5 or Deuteronomy 5:9)
    • "...Nor The Battle To The Strong" (DS9) (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
    • "Let He Who Is Without Sin" (DS9) (John 8:7)
    • "Eye of the Needle" (Voyager) (Matthew 19:24)
    • "Good Shepherd" (Voyager) (John 10:11 or John 10:14)
    • "In A Mirror, Darkly" (Enterprise) (1 Corinthians 13:12)
  • Stargate SG-1
    • "The Fourth Horseman" (Revelation 6:7)
  • Supernatural
    • "In The Beginning" (Genesis 1:1 or John 1:1)
    • "No Rest For The Wicked" (Isaiah 48:22)
  • War of the Worlds TV series
    • "The Walls of Jericho" (Hebrews 11:30)
    • "Thy Kingdom Come" (Matthew 6:10 or Luke 11:2)
    • "A Multitude of Idols" (Ezekiel 14:4)
    • "Eye for an Eye" (Exodus 21:24)
    • "The Second Seal" (Revelation 6:3)
    • "The Good Samaritan" (Luke 10)
    • "Among the Philistines" (2 Chronicles 26:6)
    • "He Feedeth Among the Lilies" (Song of Solomon 2:16)
    • "The Prodigal Son" (Luke 15)
    • "The Meek Shall Inherit" (Matthew 5:5)
    • "Unto Us A Child Is Born" (Isaiah 9:6)
    • "Vengeance Is Mine" (Romans 12:19)
    • "So Shall Ye Reap" (Galatians 6:7)
  • The West Wing episodes:
    • "Evidence of Things Not Seen" (Hebrews 11:1)
    • "In Excelsis Deo" (Luke 2:14)
    • "Isaac and Ishmael" (Genesis 17:20-21)
    • "Shibboleth" (Judges 12:6)
    • "Take This Sabbath Day" (Deuteronomy 5:12)

Music
  • White Stripes album "Get Behind Me Satan" (Matthew 16:23)
  • The Fiery Furnaces get their name from Daniel 3:6.
    • The song "Straight Street" references the "Street Called Straight" (Acts 9:10-19).
  • "All Is Vanity" (Ecclesiastes 1:2), a song by the Manic Street Preachers, from "Journal For Plague Lovers"
  • Nick Cave album "Kicking Against the Pricks" (Acts 26:14)
  • In an interesting example, the band Avenged Sevenfold actually takes their name from Genesis 4:15, and lampshades that with the song "Chapter 4."
  • The Scottish rock band Nazereth had an album called "No Mean City" (Acts 21:39, but probably more directly from the Alexander McArthur and H. Kingsley Long novel above). (Their name isn't a direct Biblical allusion either; it's after Nazareth, PA, mentioned in "The Weight" by The Band.)
  • "No Mean City" by Maggie Bell (better known as "Theme from Taggart"), as above.

Theatre
  • Balm in Gilead, play by Lanford Wilson (Jeremiah 8:22)
  • The Little Foxes, play by Lillian Hellman (Song of Solomon 2:15)
  • The Voice of the Turtle, play by John van Druten (Song of Solomon 2:12)

Video Games
  • Starcraft
    • Zerg mission 8: Eye for an Eye (Exodus 21:24)
  • Ultimate Doom
    • Thy Flesh Consumed (Proverbs 5:11)
    • E4 M1: Hell Beneath (Proverbs 15:24)
    • E4 M2: Perfect Hatred (Psalm 139:22)
    • E4 M3: Sever The Wicked (Matthew 13:49)
    • E4 M4: Unruly Evil (James 3:8)
    • E4 M5: They Will Repent (Luke 16:30)
    • E4 M6: Against Thee Wickedly (Psalm 139:20)
    • E4 M7: And Hell Followed (Revelation 6:8)
    • E4 M8: Unto The Cruel (Proverbs 5:9)
  • Gears of War chapter 5-3 "Pale Horse" (Revelation 6:8)
  • Mass Effect mission titles, particularly in the sequel:
    • "The Prodigal" (Luke 15:11-32)
    • "A House Divided" (Luke 11:17)
    • More of a Literary Allusion Name, but the character Legion is named after a part of Mark 5:9 ("My name is Legion: for we are many.").

Web Comics
  • The Sburb album of Homestuck has most of its track titles based either on biblical books (Genesis, Exodus, Chronicles, Revelations) or on biblical phrases and ideas (Eden, The Meek, Rapture, Creation).
  • The Meek (Matthew 5:5)
  • No Rest for the Wicked (Isaiah 48:22 or Isaiah 57:21)

Web Original
  • Whateley Universe: the origin novel for Phase has five chapters, titled: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy

Western Animation
  • "Sins of the Father", episode of The New Batman Adventures (Exodus 20:5 or Deuteronomy 5:9)
  • "She of Little Faith", episode of The Simpsons ("O ye of little faith," repeated phrase in Matthew)
  • "My Brother's Keeper", episode of Danny Phantom (Genesis 4:9)

    Shakespeare 

Comics
  • The Sandman
    • "Sound and Fury" (Macbeth, V.i)
    • "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
    • "The Tempest"
    • The above two are directly related to the plays mentioned, even including text from them.
  • Legends DC
    • "Cry Havoc" and "Let Slip The Dogs Of War", the story titles of issues 4 and 5 (Julius Caesar)

Film

Literature

Live-Action TV

Theatre

Video Games

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

Other

    Lord Acton 

    Douglas Adams 

    John Quincy Adams 

    Aeschylus 
  • "Prometheus Unbound", (title of play)

    Hans Christian Andersen 

    Archimedes 

    Aristotle 
  • Comics
    • "Men of Good Fortune", The Sandman issue (Rhetoric, treatise)

    Neil Armstrong 
  • "One Small Step" and "One Giant Leap", episodes of Eureka
  • "One Giant Leap", episode of Heroes (sentence said upon landing on the moon)
  • "One Small Step", episode of Star Trek: Voyager (sentence said upon landing on the moon)

    Isaac Asimov 
  • The titles of In Memory Yet Green and In Joy Still Felt - a two-volume autobiography - were drawn by the author from a poem by Asimov. It's something of a Zig Zag, though, since it's Asimov's autobiography.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "I Robot, You Jane." This doubles as an allusion to Tarzan.

    James Aubrey 
  • Brief Lives, multi-issue The Sandman arc and subsequent single-volume collection (title of biography collection)

    W.H. Auden 
  • Symphony No. 2 "The Age of Anxiety" by Leonard Bernstein ("The Age of Anxiety", poem)
  • The Normal Heart, play by Larry Kramer ("September 1, 1939", poem)

     Russell Banks 

    Stephen Vincent Benét 
  • Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee, study of Native American life in the late 19th century by Dee Brown ("American Names," poem)
  • "Bury My Shell at Wounded Knee", Locomotive Level of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
  • "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee", song by Buffy Sainte-Marie.
  • "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee", song by Indigo Girls.
  • "Bury My Knee at Wounded Heart", Judge Dredd story.
  • "Bury My Knee at Wounded Heart", Tank Girl story.

    Beowulf 
  • Doom of Battle, the third novel in Marcus Pitcaithly's Hereward trilogy.

    The Bhagavad Gita 

    Otto von Bismarck 
  • Literature
    • Blood and Iron, novel by Elizabeth Bear (1862 speech). Otto himself was quoting Quintilian, but a Title Drop in the book makes it clear that the Bismarck reference is the intended one.
    • Blood and Iron, novel (first of the American Empire trilogy) by Harry Turtledove
    • (Non-Fiction): Gold and Iron: Bismarck, Bleichröder, and the Building of the German Empire, a double biography of Bismarck and his banker, Gerson Bleichröder, by Fritz Stern.
    • The Art of the Impossible, Star Trek: The Lost Era novel (play on "Politics is the art of the possible", from an 1867 interview)
  • Western Animation

    William Blake 
  • "Tiger! Tiger!", a Jungle Book story by Rudyard Kipling ("The Tyger", poem)
  • Tiger! Tiger!, original title of The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
  • "Tyger! Tyger!", episode of Batman: The Animated Series
  • Tyger Tyger, book by Kersten Hamilton
  • Burning Bright, novel by John Steinbeck ("The Tyger", poem)
  • In the Forests of the Night, a vampire novel by then-teenaged Amelia Atwater-Rhodes; the villain even quotes the poem. This has become a recurring theme with her book titles; see the rest of the page for more examples. ("The Tyger", poem)
  • What Dread Hand, short story collection by Christianna Brand ("The Tyger", poem)
  • "What Dread Hand", episode of Sky
  • "Fearful Symmetry" - The X-Files episode ("The Tyger", poem)
  • Fearful Symmetry, a Daniel Amos album
  • "Fearful Symmetry", Watchmen, Chapter 5
  • Fearful Symmetry: Kraven's Last Hunt - a Spider-Man six-part arc from 1987, which also quotes the poem in the first and last installment.
  • "Fearful Symmetry", a Justice League Unlimited episode
    • Bonus Points: also a deliberate double reference to the Watchmen chapter. The JLU episode co-stars The Question, while the Watchman chapter focuses on Rorschach, Moore's Captain Ersatz for The Question.
  • Her Fearful Symmetry, novel by Audrey Niffenegger
  • "Little Girl Lost", an episode of Castle (title of poem)
  • "Little Girl Lost", episode of The Twilight Zone
  • Forests of the Night and Fearful Symmetries(:The Return of Nohar Rajasthan), two novels from S. Andrew Swann's Moreau Series, both of which have the same main character who's a sentient tiger...
  • Seize the Fire, a Star Trek: Typhon Pact novel ("The Tyger", poem)

     The Book of Common Prayer 
  • "Ashes to Ashes", song by David Bowie (Burial Rites 1 and 2)
  • "Ashes to Ashes", Blind Guardian song.
  • "Ashes to Ashes", episode of Star Trek: Voyager
  • "The Burial of the Dead", the title of the first part of T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land," comes from the title of the funeral service
  • "Dust to Dust", Babylon 5 episode (Burial Rites 1 and 2)
  • "Dust to Dust", War of the Worlds episode
  • An Excellent Mystery, Brother Cadfael novel by Ellis Peters (The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony)
  • "Dust to Dust", album by Heavenly (which also contains a song called "Ashes to Ashes...")
  • "Dust to Dust", the last level of Modern Warfare 3

    Ray Bradbury 
  • Fahrenheit 9/11 - The Michael Moore documentary about the presidency of George W. Bush, referencing Bradbury's classic Fahrenheit 451. Mr. Bradbury accused Mr. Moore of "stealing" his title, though he himself has invoked this several times in his career.

    John Bradford 

    Anne Dudley Bradstreet 
  • In Ashes Lie, novel by Marie Brennan ("Verses on the Burning of our House, July 18, 1666", poem)

    Mel Brooks 

    Phillips Brooks 
  • "O Little Town...", Eureka episode ("O Little Town of Bethlehem", Christmas carol)
  • The Silent Stars Go By, a science fiction novel by James White, 1991.
  • The Silent Stars Go By, a Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel by Dan Abnett, 2010.

    Robert Browning 
  • The Dark Tower series by Stephen King ("Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came", poem)
  • Grow Old Along With Me, the original title of Pebble In The Sky by Isaac Asimov ("Rabbi Ben Ezra", poem)

    John Bunyan 

    Frances Burney 

    Robert Burns 

    Tim Burton 

    Lord Byron 
  • "Wolf in the Fold", Star Trek episode ("The Destruction of Sennacherib", poem)
  • "She Walks in Beauty", Bonanza episode (title of poem)
  • "And the Moon Be Still as Bright", chapter in The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury ("So We'll Go No More A-Roving")

    Julius Caesar 
  • "The Die Is Cast", Star Trek: Deep Space 9 episode (remark attributed to Caesar in Suetonius's Divus Julius and Plutarch's Life of Pompey)

    Marcus Tullius Cicero 
  • "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges", Star Trek: Deep Space 9 episode (Pro Milone)

    John Cale 
  • "A Stronger Loving World," Watchmen, Chapter 12 ("Sanities", song)

    W. B. Cannon 
  • "Fight or Flight", episode of Heroes (Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear and Rage: An Account of Recent Researches into the Function of Emotional Excitement, scientific paper)

    Lewis Carroll 
  • "Through the Looking Glass", Angel episode (title of book)
  • "Through the Looking Glass", Star Trek: Deep Space 9 episode
  • "Through the Looking Glass", Farscape episode
  • LOST episodes:
  • "White Rabbit", song by Jefferson Airplane.
  • Into the Looking Glass series, by John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor
  • "Mimsy Were The Borogoves", a short story by Lewis Padgett (Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore).
  • The Last Mimzy, a movie inspired by the Lewis Padgett story.

    Casablanca 

    Johnny Cash 
  • "The Folsom Prison Blues", Supernatural episode (title of song)

    Raymond Chandler 

    Child Ballads / folk songs 
  • "And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place", episode of Babylon 5 ("Oh, Sinner Man", traditional spiritual)
  • No Hiding Place, 1960s UK Police Procedural (same song)
  • Strong Poison by Dorothy L Sayers ("Lord Randall", Child Ballad #12)
  • "When the Bough Breaks", episode of Castle ("Rockabye Baby", traditional lullaby)
  • When the Wind Blows, graphic novel by Raymond Briggs (same lullaby)
  • Manly Wade Wellman did this often with his "Silver John" stories: "In the Pines" (same song), "The Desrick On Yandro" (He's Gone Away), "Little Black Train" (same song).
  • All of the titles of the Bedlam's Bard series by Mercedes Lackey are taken from the lyrics of Tom O'Bedlam, such as Music to My Sorrow and Knight of Ghosts and Shadows.
  • Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, play by Liz Lochead (traditional children's rhyme)

    Frederic Chopin 
  • Preludes and Nocturnes, one-volume collection of The Sandman issues (characteristic, frequently collected musical forms)

    Winston Churchill 

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge 

    William Congreve 
  • "Hell Hath No Fury", episode of Castle (The Mourning Bride, play)
  • "Hell Hath No Fury", episode of Charmed

    Joseph Conrad 

    Constitution of the United States of America 
  • The JAG episode "We the People" (preamble)
  • "He Shall, from Time to Time...", The West Wing episode (Article II, Section 3)
  • Protect and Defend, Richard North Patterson legal/political thriller (Article II, Section 1)

    Hart Crane 
  • Appalachian Spring, ballet by Aaron Copland ("The Dance", poem)

    Salvador Dali 
  • Persistence of Memory, novel by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (title of painting)
  • "The Persistence of Memory", episode of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage

    Dante Alighieri 

    Charles Darwin 
  • Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom, non-fiction book by Sean B. Carroll (On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, non-fiction book note )
  • The Origin of PC's, the prequel to The Order of the Stick (On The Origin of Species, non-fiction book)
  • Almost Like A Whale: The Origin of Species Updated, non-fiction book by Steve Jones (On The Origin of Species, non fiction booknote )

    Philip K. Dick 
  • Fringe episode "Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?" from the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (which was adapted into a little movie called Blade Runner).
  • A Japanese Pokémon episode is "Do Magnemite Dream of Electric Mice" (in English, "Sparks Fly From the Magnemite")

    Charles Dickens 

    Dorothy Donnelly 

    Ernest Dowson 
  • Gone with the Wind, novel by Margaret Mitchell ("Non Sum Qualis eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae", poem)
  • Arguably the song "Always True To You In My Fashion" from Kiss Me Kate (paraphrased line from "Non Sum Qualis eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae", poem)
  • Days Of Wine And Roses, film ("Vitae Summa Brevis Nos Spem Incohare Longam", poem)
  • "Days of Wine and Doh'ses, episode of The Simpsons

    John Donne 
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls, novel by Ernest Hemingway (Meditation XVII, prose poem) Many of the following are more likely to be references to the novel.
  • "For Whom the Bell Tolls", episode of Andromeda
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls, Metallica song
  • "For Whom the Bell Trolls", episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go, novel by Philip Jose Farmer (Holy Sonnet VII)
  • Death Be Not Proud, memoir by John J. Gunther (Holy Sonnet X)
  • "Marge Be Not Proud", episode of The Simpsons
  • Valediction, Spenser novel by Robert B. Parker (who featured many allusive titles in the 1980s) (shortened title of "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning", poem)
  • "Catch a Falling Star", episode of Quantum Leap ("Song", poem)

    Arthur Conan Doyle 

    Paul Laurence Dunbar 
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou("Sympathy", poem)

    Albert Einstein 
  • "Watchmaker," Watchmen, Chapter 4 (apocryphal remark "If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker")
  • Circumference of Darkness, novel by Jack Henderson (attributed remark "As the circle of light increases, so does the circumference of darkness around it")
  • God's Dice, novel by S. Andrew Swann (1924 letter to Max Born)
  • "God's Dice," Pearl Jam song
  • Subtle is the Lord, Einstein biography by Abraham Pais (1921 remark to Oscar Veblen at Princeton University)

    T. S. Eliot 
  • Novels by Iain Banks:
    • Consider Phlebas (The Waste Land, poem)
    • Look to Windward (The Waste Land, poem)
  • Doctor Who novel "The Hollow Men" (The Waste Land, poem)
  • "The Hollow Men", episode of Dollhouse
  • Stephen King's The Waste Lands (part 3 of The Dark Tower; Eliot's The Waste Land is quoted in the epigraph)
  • This is the Way the World Ends, novel by James Morrow.
  • Time to Murder and Create, novel by Lawrence Block ("The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", poem)
  • Wire in the Blood (Four Quartets, poem), and a few of its episodes:
    • "The Mermaids Singing" (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, poem)
    • "Time to Murder and Create" (same)
  • All of Val McDermid's Tony Hill books (the inspiration for Wire in the Blood) are named after one or two lines in one of his poems with the part written in the beginning of the book.
    • The Mermaids Singing (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock)
    • Wire in the Blood (Burnt Norton, Four Quartets)
    • The Last Temptation (Murder in the Cathedral)
    • The Torment of Others (The Dry Salvages, Four Quartets)
    • Beneath the Bleeding (East Coker, Four Quartets)
    • Fever of the Bone (Whispers of Immortality)

    Euripides 
  • "Whom Gods Destroy", Star Trek episode ("Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad", epigram)

    Eleanor Farjeon 
  • "Old Ghosts," Watchmen, Chapter 8 ("Hallowe'en", poem)

    Robert Frost 
  • "Before I Sleep", Stargate Atlantis episode ("Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening", poem)
  • "Miles to Go Before I Sleep", song recorded by Celine Dion ("Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening", poem)
  • Perish Twice, novel by Robert B. Parker ("Fire and Ice", poem)
  • "Road Less Traveled", Battlestar Galactica episode ("The Road Not Taken", poem)
  • "Road Not Taken", Stargate SG-1 episode ("The Road Not Taken", poem)
  • "Road Not Taken", MacGyver episode ("The Road Not Taken", poem)
  • Two Roads Diverge, graphic novel by Richard Kelly ("The Road Not Taken", poem)
  • Miles To Go was the name of Miley Cyrus' 2009 memoir, and a play on her first name.

    Galileo Galilei 

    George Gershwin 

    W. S. Gilbert 

    Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar 

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

    Kenneth Grahame 

    Thomas Gray 
  • Far From the Madding Crowd, novel by Thomas Hardy ("Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard", poem)
    • Matchbox 20 also has an album named "Far From the Madding Crowd", though it's unclear which is the source.

    Robert Graves 
  • "Goodbye to All That", Northern Exposure episode (Good-Bye to All That, autobiography)
  • "Goodbye to All That", Millennium episode
  • "Goodbye to All That", Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode
  • "Goodbye to All That", song from 1946 musical Park Avenue

    Ernest Hemingway 

    O. Henry 
  • "The Grift of the Magi", episode of The Simpsons ("The Gift of the Magi", short story)

    Henry IV of France 
  • "Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish", episode of The Simpsons ("a wagon in each barn and a chicken in every pot", attributed).

    George Herbert 
  • "Is There In Truth No Beauty?", Star Trek episode ("Jordan (I)", poem)

    Herman Hesse 

    Alfred Hitchcock 
  • "The Baby Vanishes", Rugrats episode
  • "The Lady Vanishes", Wings episode
  • "The Lady Vanishes" Dallas episode
  • "The Lady Vanishes" The Commish episode
  • "The Lady Vanishes" Sexton Blake episode
  • Season 6 of 2point4 Children had a run of episodes called "The Lady Vanishes", "Vertigo", "The Trouble With Harry" and "The Man Who Knew Too Much".
  • "The Money Vanishes" ''Ducktales episode.

    Oliver Wendell Holmes 

    Homer 

    Horace 
  • "Eris Quod Sum", episode of Heroes (Odes, collection of lyric poems)

    A.E Housman 
  • The Remorseful Day, the title of the last Inspector Morse novel. (Last line of More Poems XVI, "How clear, how lovely bright")

    Julia Ward Howe 
  • The Grapes of Wrath, novel by John Steinbeck ("The Battle Hymn of the Republic", song)
  • "The Crepes of Wrath", episode of The Simpsons
  • The Grapes of Death is the direct translation of the French title Les Raisins de la Mort, a zombie film. Presumably refers to the Steinbeck novel.

    Langston Hughes 

    Margaret Wolfe Hungerford 

     Washington Irving 

    Lyndon B. Johnson 
  • "Hearts and Minds", episode of LOST (1965 speech)
  • "Hearts and Minds", episode of V
  • "Hearts and Minds", episode of Justice League

    Erica Jong 

    Ben Jonson 
  • Thomas Ligotti short story "Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes", from the opening line of "Song: To Celia" ("Drink to me only with thine eyes...")

    James Joyce 

    Carl Jung 
  • The Persona spin off series from Shin Megami Tensei.
  • "The Darkness of Mere Being," Watchmen, Chapter 9 (Memories, Dreams, Reflections, book)

    Juvenal 

    Nikos Kazantzakis 
  • "The Last Temptation of Homer" and "The Last Temptation of Krust", episodes of The Simpsons ("The Last Temptation of Christ", novel)
    • Also possibly "Lisa the Greek" ("Zorba the Greek", novel)

    John Keats 

    John F. Kennedy 

    Francis Scott Key 
  • Twilight's Last Gleaming, 1971 novel and 1977 film ("The Star-Spangled Banner")
  • "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming", episode of The Simpsons
  • "Proof Through The Night", episode of "Airwolf" ("The Star-Spangled Banner")
  • "No Refuge Could Save", Isaac Asimov short story ("The Star-Spangled Banner")

    Stephen King 

    Charles Kingsley 
  • A Drowned Maiden's Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz ("The Sands of Dee")

    Rudyard Kipling 
  • From Here to Eternity, novel by James Jones ("Gentlemen-Rankers", poem)
  • The Thin Red Line, novel by James Jones ("Tommy", poem)
    • Also The Thin Blue Line, as well as two documentary films of the same name. (The phrase 'Thin Blue Line referring to the police is derived from the above usage).
  • "Thin RED Line", Arakune's theme music in the videogame BlazBlue
    • Although, as "Tommy" lampshades, "thin red line" was an older phrase used in the newspapers etc. at least since the Crimean War.
  • Insurance: The White Man's Burden, a Goon Show episode. ("The White Man's Burden", poem)
  • White Mans Burden, motion picture starring John Travolta and Harry Belefonte

    John Knox 
  • The Monstrous Regiment, novel by Storm Constantine ("The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women", tract)
  • Monstrous Regiment, Discworld novel

     Phillip Larkin 

    C. S. Lewis 

    Abraham Lincoln 
  • For Us, The Living, novel by Robert A. Heinlein (Gettysburg Address, speech)
    • The title of Ayn Rand's first novel, We the Living, may also have been alluding to this
  • The Last Full Measure, novel by Jeff Shaara, third in the Civil War Trilogy (Gettysburg Address, speech)
  • "The Stormy Present", episode of The West Wing (1862 annual speech to Congress)
  • "A House Divided", episode of ER (1858 speech accepting senatorial nomination)
  • "House Divided", episode of House
  • "A Milhouse Divided", episode of The Simpsons.

    Jack London 

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 
  • The Children's Hour, play by Lillian Hellman (title of poem)
  • The Children's Hour, novelette and later novel from the Man-Kzin Wars series, by Jerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling

     Sidney Lumet 

     Andy Lyons 
  • When Saturday Comes, film (title of magazine)
  • "When Saturday Comes", 2point4 Children episode (title of magazine)
  • When Friday Comes: Football, War and the Middle East, non-fiction book by James Montague (based on title of magazine)

    Christopher Marlowe 
  • A Thousand Ships, first trade paperback for the Age of Bronze comic book series by Eric Shanower (Doctor Faustus, V.i, play)
  • Midnight Never Come, novel by Marie Brennan (Doctor Faustus, V.i, play)

    Andrew Marvell 
  • A Fine and Private Place, novel by Peter S. Beagle ("To His Coy Mistress", poem)
  • Fine and Private Place, novel by Ellery Queen
  • "Vaster Than Empires and More Slow", short story by Ursula K. Le Guin ("To His Coy Mistress", poem)
  • World Enough and Time, novel by Robert Penn Warren ("To His Coy Mistress", poem)
  • "World Enough and Time", Star Trek: New Voyages
  • Worlds Enough and Time, science fiction novel by Joe Haldeman

    The Marx Brothers 
  • "There Ain't No Sanity Clause", song by The Damned (A Night at the Opera, film)
  • A Night At The Opera and A Day At The Races were Queen albums from 1975 and 1976, respectively.
  • In a somewhat related note, Elton John got the title to his 1973 Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player album, when his friend Groucho Marx kidded him that his stage name should be "John Elton". Elton raised his hand as if in a hold-up and jokily exclaimed what would be the title of the album. Elton put a Go West movie poster in the album artwork as a tribute to the Marx Brothers.

    Somerset Maugham 
  • Appointment in Samarra, novel by John O'Hara (Sheppey, play)
  • "Appointment in Samarra", episode of Supernatural

    John Mc Crae 
  • "When Flanders Failed", episode of The Simpsons ("In Flanders Fields", poem)

    Hughes Mearns 
  • The Man Who Wasn't There, film ("Antigonish", poem)

    Herman Melville 

    John Milton 
  • The Light Fantastic, Discworld novel ("L'Allegro", poem)
  • Tripping the Light Fantastic, album by The Enid
  • Tripping the Live Fantastic, live double album by Paul McCartney
  • To Reign in Hell, novel by Steven Brust (Paradise Lost, epic poem)
  • His Dark Materials (Paradise Lost, epic poem) The Working Title of the trilogy, The Golden Compasses, as well. The American title of the first book, The Golden Compass, comes from this, although the "compasses" Milton referred to were the drawing instrument, not the navigational tool which the alethiometer superficially resembles. (Paradise Lost, epic poem)
  • In Dubious Battle, novel by John Steinbeck (Paradise Lost, epic poem)
  • "Paradise Lost", Justice League episode
  • Prospero Lost and Prospero Regained by L. Jagi Lamplighter, in her Prospero's Daughter trilogy. (Though the middle work is not included.)
  • "Paradise Lost", subtitle of Mega Man X8 (Paradise Lost, epic poem)
  • "Parasites Lost", episode of Futurama

    Edward R. Murrow 

    Thomas Nashe 
  • Brightness Falls From the Air, novel by James Tiptree ("A Litany in Time of Plague", poem)

    The New England Primer 
  • "My Soul to Keep", episode of War of the Worlds
  • My Soul to Take
  • The novels in Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series all use either quotes from or variations on the "My Soul to Keep" verse. They are:
    • My Soul to Take
    • My Soul to Save
    • My Soul to Keep
    • "My Soul to Lose" (the prequel novella)
    • The forthcoming (as of March 2011) If I Die.

    Isaac Newton 
  • A Star Shall Fall, novel by Marie Brennan (unpublished alchemical notes)

    The Nicene Creed 

     Friedrich Nietzsche 
  • Man and Superman, play by George Bernard Shaw (Thus Spoke Zarathustra, book)
  • "The Abyss Gazes Also," Watchmen, Chapter 6 (Beyond Good and Evil, book)
  • Beyond Good & Evil, video game (title of book)
  • Every single chapter of the Xenosaga series.
    • Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht (recurring phrase most common in Beyond Good and Evil)
    • Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse (title of book—in English, Beyond Good and Evil)
    • Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra (title of book—in English, Thus Spoke Zarathustra)
  • Also Sprach Zarathustra, orchestral work by Richard Strauss
  • Too Human, video game (title of book—Human, All Too Human)

     Eugene O'Neill 
  • "Long Day's Journey", episode of ER (Long Day's Journey Into Night, play)
  • Long Night's Journey Into Day, a documentary film about the end of The Apartheid Era in South Africa

     George Orwell 
  • Big Brother, reality television show (1984, novel)
  • 1Q84, novel by Haruki Murakami; the letter Q and the Japanese number 9 are homophones (1984, novel)
  • Room 101, BBC chat show (1984, novel)
  • "2+2=5", a Radiohead song (1984)

     Trey Parker and Matt Stone 

     Thomas Percival 

    Plato 
  • Two Worlds, a German developed action RPG that apparently draws its name from Plato's concept of the worlds of Form and Things.

     Edgar Allan Poe 

     Alexander Pope 

     Jean Racine 
  • "Sleep of the Just", issue of The Sandman (Abrégé de l'histoire de Port Royal, book)

    Cardinal Richelieu 
  • The Last Argument of Kings, novel by Joe Abercrombie (English translation of Latin motto "Ultima ratio regum" inscribed on cannons)

     Gene Roddenberry 

     Franklin D. Roosevelt 

     J.K. Rowling 
  • "The Parting of the Ways", the series 1 finale of Doctor Who (Goblet of Fire chapter) note 

     Donald Rumsfeld 
  • "Known Unknowns", episode of House (2002 White House press briefing)
  • Stuff Happens, play by David Hare (2003 speech note )

     Gilbert Ryle 

    Jean-Paul Sartre 
  • "Objects in Space", Firefly episode (Being and Nothingness, book)
  • "Other People", short story by Neil Gaiman (No Exit, play)
  • "No Exit", episode of The West Wing (title of play)
  • "No Exit", episode of The 4400
  • No Exit, album by Australian band The Angels/Angel City
  • Huis Clos chapter from "Ayla and the Mad Scientist"

    Friedrich von Schiller 
  • The Gods Themselves, novel by Isaac Asimov ("Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain", line from Die Jungfrau von Orléans)

    Sir Walter Scott 
  • Sons of the White Dragon, the first novel in Marcus Pitcaithly's Hereward trilogy. The quotation comes from Ulrica's Death Song in Ivanhoe.

    Maurice Sendak 

    Robert Service 

    Dr. Seuss 
  • Oh, the Things I Know!, advice/humor book by Al Franken (Oh, the Places You'll Go!, picture book)
  • "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish", episode of The Simpsons (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, picture book)

    George Bernard Shaw 

     Mary Shelley 

    Percy Bysshe Shelley 
  • "Who Mourns for Adonais?", Star Trek episode ("Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats", poem)
  • "Look on My Works, Ye Mighty...," Watchmen, Chapter 11 ("Ozymandias", poem)
  • The Prisoner: Shattered Visage, graphic novel ("Ozymandias", poem)
  • "The Lone And Level Sands", Andromeda episode ("Ozymandias", poem)
  • "Prometheus Unbound", Stargate SG-1 episode (title of play; also a reference to Aeschylus)
  • "Prometheus Unbound", Beast Machines episode
  • Rise Like Lions, Star Trek: Mirror Universe novel ("The Masque of Anarchy, poem)

    Horatio Spafford 
  • Peace like a River, novel by Leif Enger ("It Is Well Within My Soul", hymn)

    A Star Is Born 

    Robert Louis Stevenson 
  • The Black Adder, first season of Blackadder (The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses, novel)

    Robert E. Stripling 
  • "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been", episode of Angel (repeated question in the 1947 House Committee on Un-American Activities hearing that lead to the Hollywood blacklist, in which Stripling was the chief investigator)

    Sara Teasdale 

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson 
  • Literature
    • The Mirror Crack'd, novel by Agatha Christie ("The Lady of Shalott", poem)
    • Sick of Shadows, novel by Sharyn McCrumb ("The Lady of Shalott", poem)
    • Tooth and Claw, novel by Jo Walton ("In Memoriam A.H.H.", poem)
    • To Sail Beyond the Sunset, novel by Robert A. Heinlein ("Ulysses", poem)
    • The Crimson Petal and the White, novel by Michael Faber ("The Princess", poem)
    • Theirs Not To Reason Why, series by Jean Johnson ("The Charge of the Light Brigade", poem)
  • Live-Action TV
  • Movies
  • Video Games
  • Other
  • Real Life
    • The World Wonders, a meaningless phrase - intended to make messages harder to decode - that was mistaken for part of a real transmission during the Battle of Leyte Gulf (Charge of the Light Brigade)

    Ernest Thayer 

    Dylan Thomas 
  • "Dying of the Light", episode of Heroes ("Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night", villanelle)
  • Dying of the Light, novel by George R. R. Martin
  • "Into That Good Night", episode of ER ("Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night", villanelle)
  • Millennium episode "Loin Like a Hunting Flame" ("The Ballad of the Long-Legged Bait", poem)

    Alexis de Tocqueville 

    Mark Twain 

    Virgil 

    Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 
  • "Ice 9", Joe Satriani song (Cat's Cradle, novel)
  • "The Sirens of Titan", Al Stewart song (The Sirens of Titan, novel)
  • Welcome to the Monkey House, Dandy Warhols album (Welcome to the Monkey House, short story anthology)
  • World Domination In Retrospect, a Web Serial Novel in the form of blogfic (Armageddon In Retrospect, short story in an anthology of the same name)

    David Foster Wallace 
  • "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again", episode of The Simpsons ("A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," essay, and also title of a collection of essays)

    Ken Walsh 

    Walt Whitman 
  • "Gliding Over All", episode of Breaking Bad which features a copy of the poetry collection Leaves of Grass as a major plot point.
  • Leaves of Grass, 2010 film starring Edward Norton.
  • Oh Captain!, 1958 Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of The Captain's Paradise ("O Captain! My Captain!", poem)
  • I Sing the Body Electric, the Ray Bradbury novel
  • "I Sing the Body Electric", the Twilight Zone episode

    Margery Williams 
  • Skin Horse, webcomic by Shaenon Garrity and Jeffrey Channing Wells (The Velveteen Rabbit, children's book)

    Tennessee Williams 

    The Wizard of Oz 
  • Live Action TV
    • "Over the Rainbow", episode of Angel
    • "The Man Behind the Curtain" and "There's No Place Like Home," episodes of LOST
  • Western Animation

    Carter Godwin Woodson 
  • "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill", album (play off the title of The Miseducation of the Negro, book)

    William Wordsworth 
  • Splendor in the Grass, 1961 film ("Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood", poem)

    William Butler Yeats 
Practically all of these are from his poem "The Second Coming", which is a rather... popular source of titles. The National Lampoon once compiled a fake bestseller list consisting entirely of books whose titles come from "The Second Coming".
  • Things Fall Apart, novel by Chinua Achebe
  • "Things Fall Apart", episode of The West Wing
  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem, essay collection by Joan Didion
  • "Slouching Towards Bethlehem", song by Joni Mitchell (although, the song is quite literally a rendering of Yeats' poem to music).
  • "Slouching Towards Bethlehem", episode of Angel
  • Slouching Toward Gomorrah by Robert H. Bork and its subsequent rebuttal, Skipping Toward Gomorrah by Dan Savage.
  • "Stumbling to Bethlehem", a song by Patti Scialfa.
  • Ceremony and The Widening Gyre, novels by Robert B. Parker
  • Episodes of Andromeda:
    • "The Widening Gyre"
    • "Its Hour Come Round At Last"
    • "Pitiless As The Sun"
  • "The Second Coming", episode of Heroes
  • The Center Cannot Hold, second book in the American Empire trilogy by Harry Turtledove
  • The PC game Ceremony Of Innocence
  • Slouching Towards Bedlam, Interactive Fiction by Daniel Ravipinto and Star Foster
  • Kevin Smith's Batman: The Widening Gyre.
  • Blood Dimmed Tides, Tabletop RPG supplement for the Old World of Darkness line.
  • "Turning and Turning" and "The Widening Gyre", episodes from the third season of Sons of Anarchy
  • The Star Trek Novel Verse sequence Star Trek: Mere Anarchy, and all six books within the series (Things Fall Apart; The Centre Cannot Hold; Shadows of the Indignant; The Darkness Drops Again; The Blood-Dimmed Tide; and Its Hour Come Round).
From other works:

     Edward Young 
  • Thief of Time, Discworld novel ("Night Thoughts: Night I", poem)

    Zhuangzi 
  • The Lathe of Heaven, novel by Ursula K. Le Guin (and two TV movie adaptations) (Zhuangzi, Chapter XXIII, philosophynote )


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