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Literary Influences

A great writer is also a great reader. Nadine Gordimer uses literary allusions and quotations throughout her many books to help tell her stories. At the back of your copy of The Pickup, you will find her Notes, a bibliography of the various poems and works that she quotes from in the novel. Below are links to the works cited and other related resources.


"Too long a sacrifice makes a stone of the heart." p. 21

From W.B. Yeats's poem , 'Easter 1916' (Churchtown: The Cuala Press, 1920)

William Butler Yeats

Easter 1916 - Complete text


"Whoever embraces a woman is Adam, The woman is Eve. Everything happens for the first time... Praise be the love wherein there is no possessor and no possessed, but both surrender.. Everything happens for the first time but in a way that is eternal." p. 28

Jorge Luis Borges, 'Happiness', Jorge Luis Borges: Selected Poems (New York: Viking)

Jorge Luis Borges

Happiness - complete text


"I decided to postpone our future as long as possible, leaving everything it its present state." p. 35

From Feodor Dostoevsky, 'The Meek One', The Diary of a Writer , trans. Boris Brasol (New York: George Braziller, 1954)

Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Diary of a Writer (Cornell University Catalog)


The Sick Rose
From: Songs of Innocence and Experience (1967) Orion Press

"Rose thou art sick..." p. 66

From William Blake, 'The Sick Rose', Songs of Innocence and Experience with Other Poems (London: Basil Montagu Pickering, 1866)

William Blake

The Sick Rose - complete text


"Let us go to another country, not yours or mine." p. 88

From William Plomer, 'Another Country', Visiting the Caves (London: Jonathan Cape, 1960.

William Plomer

Another Country - complete text

Blog: Another Country


"And remember Job" p. 144

From 'The Prophets,' Sura XXI, The Koran

Rev. J.M. Rodwell's translation of the Koran, 1861

The Prophets, Sura XXI - complete text


"And make mention in the Book of Mary, when she went apart from her family, eastward" p. 145

From 'Mary', Sura XIX, The Koran

Mary, Sura XIX - complete text


"The God of Mercy hath taught the Koran" p. 146

From 'The Merciful,' Sura LV, The Koran

The Merciful, Sura LV - complete text


"And she conceived.. and retired with him to a far-off place." p. 173

From 'Mary,' Sura XIX, The Koran

Mary, Sura XIX - complete text


"al Kitab wa-l-Qur’an: Qira’a mu’asira" p. 178

From Nilüfer Göle, "Snapshot of Islamic Modernities," Daedalus, 129, no. 1 (2000): 91-117.

Nilüfer Göle

Daedalus - Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Cornell Library Catalog)


"I was occupied in picturing him to myself; I has undertaken the task of imagining him." p. 245

From Rainer Maria Rilke’s novel, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, trans. John Linton (London, The Hogarth Press)

Rainer Maria Rilke

The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (Cornell Library Catalog)