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Inception & the Literature of Dreams

Christopher Nolan’s epic 2010 blockbuster Inception drew on centuries of literature and philosophy. From Zhuangzi’s ancient Chinese story of a man who dreamed of being a butterfly to the dream labyrinths of Borges to the work of Philip K. Dick, there is a rich literary history of ideas tucked inside this movie. Analyze the influences and help readers find the books that helped inspire this great film.

  • Cool idea! Maybe dig deeper for the 'why' of performing this task: does it reveal an overarching theme or format for these genres/styles of texts? What is the message here? – Heather Lambert 3 years ago
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  • Awesome idea! I love knowing the little contextual Easter eggs hidden in films. This article could give Inception some more weight (i.e. it's based on real ideas, not just made up for entertainment purposes). – Gemma Ferguson 3 years ago
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  • You can look upon the films of Luis Bunuel- Un Chien Andalou, Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie. Most of his works are based on the complexity of dreams. – Azira101phale 3 years ago
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  • It's also worth noting that Nolan admittedly drew upon the works of Satoshi Kon - in particular, the surreal and somewhat disturbing anime feature film 'Paprika' - for 'Inception'. – Amyus 3 years ago
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  • While it may not be literature, Paprika, a 2006 Japaneses film, could also be an interesting comparison to Inception. Paprika Deals with a machine that you allow someone to infiltrate another person's dreams. – Sean Gadus 2 years ago
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