Writing Allusion

An allusion is a [figure of speech in prose or poetry that makes a] brief, often implicit and indirect, reference within a literary text to something outside the text, whether another text (e.g., the Bible, a myth, another literary work, a painting, or a piece of music) or any imaginary or historical person, place, or thing. (The Norton Anthology of World Literature)

It seeks, by tapping the knowledge and memory of the reader, to secure a resonant emotional effect from the association already in the reader’s mind. (A Handbook to Literature)

Allusion Writing Exercise

Choose a scene or section from a work you’ve already written. This can be as small as a paragraph or a full chapter. Start a new document and rewrite the scene or section, including an allusion to a single work. This can be a famous novel, essay, song, painting…. One rule, do not name the title of the work.

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Please use Universal Manuscript Guidelines when submitting: .doc or .docx, double spacing, 10-12 pt font, Times New Roman, 1 inch margins, first page header with contact information, section breaks “***” or “#.”


A Handbook to Literature. William Harmon.

“Cogito et Histoire de la Folie.” Jacques Derrida.

Eats Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Lynne Truss.

The Elements of Style. William Strunk. 

New Oxford American DictionaryEdited by Angus Stevenson and Christine A. Lindberg.

The Norton Anthology of World LiteratureMartin Puchner, et al.

The Norton Introduction to PhilosophyGideon Rosen and Alex Byrne.

Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. Patricia T. O’Conner

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French & Ned Stuckey-French.

Writing the Other. Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward.

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Eckleburg is a print and online literary journal that offers original fiction, poetry, essays, music, art, writing workshops and more.