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Literary Allusion Title

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"I call this tale, in deference to another, longer story... 'A Tale of Two Cities'."
Gaheris, The Sandman (1989)

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.

Related to Complete-the-Quote Title and Pop-Culture Pun Episode Title, as another way that Shout-Out can be in a title.

Compare ReferencedBy/WilliamShakespeare, As the Good Book Says..., and Speaks in Shout-Outs for when this occurs in the main text rather than the title. See also Terminology Title and Ominous Legal Phrase Title.


    open/close all folders 

    Lord Acton 

    Ales Adamovich 
  • The Unwomanly Face Of War: The original title of the book is "У войны не женское лицо" note , the first line of a novel written by Belarusian author Ales Adamovich, a former partisan. Incidentally Adamovich was the writer of the source book for the haunting Soviet war film Come and See.

    Douglas Adams 

    John Quincy Adams 

  • "Prometheus Unbound", (title of play)

    Hans Christian Andersen 

    Norman Angell 



    Louis Armstrong 

    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 

    James Aubrey 
  • Brief Lives, multi-issue The Sandman (1989) arc and subsequent single-volume collection (title of biography collection)

    W.H. Auden 

    Francis Bacon 
  • Every episode of season 2 of Orphan Black is titled from Bacon's Novum Organum.

    Russell Banks 

    J.M. Barrie 
  • "Second Star to the Right", "And Straight On 'Til Morning" and "Quite a Common Fairy", Once Upon a Time episodes (all Peter Pan, novel)
  • Second Star to the Right, young adult novel by Deborah Hautzig (Peter Pan)

    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.

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

    The Bhagavad Gita 
  • "I Am Become Death", episode of Heroes. Given the nuclear explosion during this episode, this is almost certainly by way of Oppenheimer, who was quoting the Bhagavad Gita.
  • The Known Space story Destroyer of Worlds, by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner.
  • Iron Maiden's "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns" (also due to Oppenheimer, given it's about nuclear warfare).
  • There's also a book called Brighter Than A Thousand Suns. It's non-fiction, covering the history of physics in the 20th century (mostly that leading up to the Trinity test) in general and Robert Oppenheimer in particular.
  • On this very wiki: Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds and Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds

    Lawrence Binyon 

    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 

    Judy Blume 

    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 (1988) 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
  • This is also the source of the traditional English wedding service, so a lot of stock titles (e.g. "To Have and to Hold", "In Sickness and in Health"), originate here.
  • "To Have And Not To Hold", Madonna song from Ray of Light.

    Ray Bradbury 

    John Bradford 

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

    Charlotte Brontë 

    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 

    John Bunyan 

    Frances Burney 

    Robert Burns 

    Tim Burton 

    Lord Byron 

    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)

    James M. Cain 

    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 

    Raymond Carver 
  • What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, autobiography of Haruki Murakami ("What We Talk About When We Talk About Love", short story)

  • The title The Usual Suspects comes from the famous line "Round up the usual suspects".
    • According to director Bryan Singer's commentary, the movie is directly named after an article from Time magazine. The article, of course, quoted Casablanca
  • "The Usual Suspects", episode of Supernatural
  • "We'll Always Have Paris", episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • "A Beautiful Friendship", Honor Harrington short story (about the first contact between humans and treecats), later expanded to a novel for the start of a Young Adult series.

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


    Raymond Chandler 

    Child Ballads and 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)
  • "And the Rock Cried Out", short story by Ray Bradbury (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)
  • The Cradle Will Rock, musical play by Marc Blitzstein (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)

    Frédéric Chopin 
  • Preludes and Nocturnes, one-volume collection of The Sandman (1989) issues (characteristic, frequently collected musical forms)

    Agatha Christie 

    Winston Churchill 

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

    William Smith Clark 
  • Boys Be..., manga and anime (parting words to to the students of Sapporo Agricultural College)

    Matthias Claudius 

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge 
  • The Caves of Ice, novel by Sandy Mitchell (Kubla Khan, poem)
  • Down to a Sunless Sea, novel by David Graham (Kubla Khan)
  • "Xanadu", Olivia Newton-John song and movie (Kubla Khan)
  • "Xanadu", Rush song from A Farewell to Kings (Kubla Khan)
  • Land of Mist and Snow, novel by James MacDonald and Debra Doyle (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, poem)
  • Sunless Sea, video game by Failbetter Games (Kubla Khan)

    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 

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

    Stephen Crane 
  • Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart, novel by Joyce Carol Oates ("In the Desert", poem)

    Christina Crawford 

    Salvador Dalí 

    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 )
  • Endless Forms Most Beautiful, album by Nightwish (On The Origin of Species, non-fiction book; see above for the full quote.)
  • 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 )
  • Every episode in season 1 of Orphan Black has a title that comes from On The Origin of Species.

    Don DeLillo 

    Philip K. Dick 

    Charles Dickens 

    Emily Dickinson 
  • In-universe in The Fault in Our Stars, An Imperial Affliction is named for a phrase in the poem "There's a certain slant of light".
  • Dickinson: Appropriately, the real Emily Dickinson's poems are used as the basis of episode titles, along with being quoted frequently. Emily is seen writing many of them during the series.

    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 

    Arthur Conan Doyle 
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, novel by Mark Haddon ("Silver Blaze", short story)
  • Two Pipe Problems, radio series (play on "a three-pipe problem" from "The Red-Headed League", short story)
  • "A Three Pint Problem", Rebus short story (play on "a three-pipe problem")

    Alexandre Dumas 

    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)

    Dwight D. Eisenhower 
  • Every episode of season 3 Orphan Black is titled from Eisenhower's 1961 farewell address (the speech that coined the phrase "military-industrial complex").

    George Eliot 

    T. S. Eliot 
  • Novels by Iain Banks:
    • Consider Phlebas (The Waste Land, poem)
    • Look to Windward (The Waste Land, poem)
  • Stephen King's The Waste Lands (part 3 of The Dark Tower; Eliot's The Waste Land is quoted in the epigraph)
  • Doctor Who Past Doctor Adventures novel "The Hollow Men" (The Hollow Men, poem)
  • "The Hollow Men", episode of Dollhouse
  • This is the Way the World Ends, novel by James Morrow. (also from The Hollow Men)
  • 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)
  • "Memory" and "The Moments of Happiness" from Cats allude to in title and loosely adapt in lyrics the poems "Rhapsody on a Windy Night" and "The Dry Salvages" (from Four Quartets), respectively
  • The Ladies of the Corridor, play by Dorothy Parker and Arnaud d'Usseau ("Sweeney Erect," poem)
  • Till Human Voices Wake Us, novel by Patti Davis ("The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", poem)
  • Ive Heard The Mermaids Singing, 1987 movie ("The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", poem)

    Harlan Ellison 
  • "The Beast That Shouted "I" at the Heart of the World", episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion ("The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World", short story)


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

    Edward FitzGerald 
From his translation of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám unless otherwise stated.

    Theodor Fontane 
  • "Ein weites Feld" (A wide field), a novel by Günter Grass (Effi Briest, novel)

    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)
  • "The 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 tie-in to Southland Tales 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.
  • "The Road Not Taken", Star Trek Online fanfic ("The Road Not Taken", poem)

    Galileo Galilei 

    George Gershwin 

    W. S. Gilbert 

    Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar 

    Tom Godwin 

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

    Kenneth Grahame 

    Thomas Gray 
  • Far From the Madding Crowd, novel by Thomas Hardy ("Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard", poem)
    • Far From the Maddening Crowds, 1997 album by Chicane
    • 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

    Dashiell Hammett 

    Ernest Hemingway 

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

    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 

    Herman Hesse 

    Alfred Hitchcock 

    Oliver Wendell Holmes 


    Thomas Hood 
  • Sweetheart of the Sun, album by The Bangles ("Ruth", poem)

  • "Eris Quod Sum", episode of Heroes (Odes, collection of lyric poems)
  • "Dulce et decorum est," poem by Wilfred Owen (Odes, III.ii.13)

    A.E. Housman 
  • Die Another Day, the 20th James Bond film (from the poem "The Day of Battle").
  • A Taste for Death, the 7th Adam Dalgliesh novel (from the last line of Additional Poems XVI, "Some can gaze and not be sick")
  • A Taste for Death, the 4th Modesty Blaise novel (from the last line of Additional Poems XVI, "Some can gaze and not be sick")
  • The Remorseful Day, the title of the last Inspector Morse novel. (Last line of More Poems XVI, "How clear, how lovely bright")
  • Blood's a Rover by James Ellroy (from a line in "A Shropshire Lad": "Clay lies still, but blood's a rover").

    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.
  • Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, non-fiction book and PBS documentary by Randall Balmer ("The Battle Hymn of the Republic", song)

    Langston Hughes 
  • A Raisin in the Sun, play by Lorraine Hansberry ("A Dream Deferred", poem)
  • Black Like Me, a book by John Howard Griffin ("Dream Variations" poem)
  • "Fat Like Me", a Daria episode
  • Dead Like Me, a TV series

    Margaret Wolfe Hungerford 

    Washington Irving 

    Jerome K. Jerome 

    Lyndon B. Johnson 
  • "Hearts and Minds", episode of Lost (1965 speech)
  • "Hearts and Minds", episode of V (1983)
  • "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...")

    Jenny Joseph 

    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)


    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 
  • Season of Mists, multi-issue arc in The Sandman (1989) by Neil Gaiman, and subsequent single-volume collection ("Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness", sonnet)
  • Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons (Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream, poems)
  • Unweaving the Rainbow, by Richard Dawkins (Lamia, poem)
  • Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Ode to a Nightingale)
  • "The Alien Corn," short story by W. Somerset Maugham (Ode to a Nightingale)
  • The Eve of St. Mark, play by Maxwell Anderson (title of poem)
  • "Alone and Palely Loitering", short story by David Bischoff (La Belle Dame sans Merci, poem)

    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 

    Rudyard Kipling 

    John Knox 

    Milan Kundera 

    Phillip Larkin 

    C. S. Lewis 

    Li Bai 
  • Qiang Jin Jiu, novel by Tang Jiu Qing (Qiang Jin Jiu, poem)
  • Qiang Jin Jiu, manhua by Hua Xiang Mo Gu (also named after the poem, but unrelated to the novel)

    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 

    Sidney Lumet 

    George Lucas 
  • HAL9000's Prequel trilogy edits take their name from novels in the Star Wars Legends timeline.

    David Lyndsay 

    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)

    Gustav Mahler 

    Christopher Marlowe 

    Andrew Marvell 

    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.

    W. Somerset Maugham 
  • Appointment in Samarra, novel by John O'Hara (Sheppey, play)
  • "Appointment in Samarra", episode of Supernatural
  • "On Human Bonding," episode of Daria

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

    Hughes Mearns 

    Herman Melville 

    Octave Mirbeau 
  • The Judge Dredd comic "The Torture Garden" is named after the novel by Octave Mirbeau (Le Jardin des supplices), which also serves as a plot point within the story as a source of fascination for the Dark Judges.

    John Milton 
    Saisei Muroo 
  • The short fic Anzu yo hanatsuke, named after a poem by this poet. The fic is also prefaced with a waka poem inspired by it.
    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 (1988)
  • 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)
    • 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)
  • Beyond Good and Evil, episode of Parasyte (Beyond Good and Evil, 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)
  • He Who Fights Monsters, a Rosario + Vampire fanfic by Hawker 748.

    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 

    Kōyō Ozaki 

    Dorothy Parker 

    Trey Parker and Matt Stone 

    Thomas Percival 
  • Fables and Reflections, single-volume collection of The Sandman (1989) issues (A Father's Instructions; Consisting of Moral Tales, Fables, and Reflections; Designed to Promote The Love of Virtue, a Taste for Knowledge, And an Early Acquaintance with the Works of Nature.)

  • 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 

    Marcel Proust 

    Jean Racine 
  • "Sleep of the Just", issue of The Sandman (1989) (Abrégé de l'histoire de Port Royal, book)

    Thomas Randolph 
  • Thunderbolts derives its name from the Randolph poem "Justice, like lightning, ever should appear to few men's ruin, but to all men's fear". In fact, the team's tagline has always been "Justice, like lightning..." as an allusion to it, and Baron Zemo as Citizen V explained it in the first issue.
    Citizen V: Our hope is that we can that lightning— that justice.

    Anne Rice 

    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 

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

    Gilbert Ryle 

    J.D. Salinger 
  • Banana Fish, manga and anime ("A Perfect Day for Bananafish", short story). The short story itself is brought up and discussed early on.

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

    Friedrich von Schiller 

    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)

    Michael and/or Jeff Shaara 

    George Bernard Shaw 

    Mary Shelley 

    Percy Bysshe Shelley 

    Richard Brinsley Sheridan 

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

    Henry De Vere Stacpoole 

    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 
  • Art:
  • 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:
    • Star Trek Online mission "Boldly They Rode", final mission in The 2800 ("Charge of the Light Brigade", poem). Given the context, doubles as a Call-Back to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Sacrifice of Angels", where Bashir and O'Brien quote part of the poem before the battle begins.
  • 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)

    Walter Tevis 

    Ernest Thayer 

    Dylan Thomas 
  • "And Death Shall Have No Dominion", Supergirl story of Adventure Comics #420.
  • "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 (1996) episode "Loin Like a Hunting Flame" ("The Ballad of the Long-Legged Bait", poem)

    Hunter S. Thompson 

    The Times Literary Supplement 
  • The Moon and Sixpence, novel by W. Somerset Maugham (anonymous review of Of Human Bondage: " many young men he was so busy yearning for the moon that he never saw the sixpence at his feet.")

    Alexis de Tocqueville 

    Mark Twain 

    Paul Valéry 
  • The Wind Has Risen, novel by Hori Tatsuo ("Le Cimetière marin", poem: "Le vent se lève! faut tenter de vivre!")
  • The Wind Rises, animated movie ("Le Cimetière marin", poem; actually quoted by the characters in the original French)

    Jules Verne 


  • To Encourage the Others, true-crime story by David Yallop and 1972 TV movie (Candide, Chapter 23)

    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)
  • "Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt" by Mewithoutyou, from Slaughterhouse-Five.

     Voyager Golden Record 

    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 

    Isaac Watts 
  • Idle Hands ("Against Idleness and Mischief", poem)

    John Webster 

    T.H. White 

    Walt Whitman 

    John Greenleaf Whittier 
  • Barefoot Boy with Cheek, novel by Max Shulman ("The Barefoot Boy", poem)

     Oscar Wilde 

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

    Tennessee Williams 

    The Wizard of Oz 
These are from the film The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland, not the novel by L. Frank Baum.

    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)

    Henry Clay Work 
    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). Separately, the short story compilation Tales of the Dominion War has an entry entitled "The Ceremony of Innocence is Drowned."
  • Mere Anarchy, comedy stories collection by Woody Allen.
  • The Widening Gyre, RPG setting book for Hero System.
From other works:
    Riichi Yokomitsu 
  • AkaSeka's frequent references to classical Japanese poetry aside, there is an event called Nagisa no Koi wa Shiokaze ni Nottenote , which sounds similar to the name of the novel Haru wa Basha ni Nottenote .

    Akiko Yosano 
  • The manga Thou Shalt Not Die by Yoko Taro, is named after the poem by the same name. The third chapter (second if you don't count the zero chapter) also shares this name as well as quoting said poem.
  • In Bungo Stray Dogs, chapter 6/episode 7 goes by the name 'To Kill and Then To Die', a quotation from Thou Shalt Not Die. This implicates that the character named after Yosano plays an important role in there.
  • Sakura Wars 2: Thou Shalt Not Die takes its name once again from the famous poem Thou Shalt Not Die.

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

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

Alternative Title(s): Quotable Title