Literary pairings

If wine and food can be paired together for optimal degustation, then why not match literary works? The key to success is finding the inner logic. Below are some initial pairings. I will add to this list. Leave a comment with your own suggestions.


  • Homer, The Iliad, The Odyssey
  • Virgil, Aeneas
  • Dante, Inferno (Canto 26)
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses”
  • Samuel Daniel, “Ulysses and the Siren”
  • James Joyce, Ulysses


  • Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
  • Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Faust: Part 1 and 2
  • Thomas Mann, Doctor Faustus

Saint Anthony

  • Athanasius, The Life of Saint Anthony
  • Gustave Flaubert, The Temptation of Saint Anthony

Two versions of The Scarlet Letter 

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter 
  • John Updike, A Month of Sundays, S., and Roger’s Version (Updike’s Scarlet Letter trilogy)

Heaven and Hell

  • William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
  • C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

Eden: Adam and Eve

  • John Milton, Paradise Lost
  • Mark Twain, “Eve’s Diary,” The Diaries of Adam and Eve
  • Hans Christian Anderson, “The Garden of Paradise”
  • C. S. Lewis, Perelandra

East of Eden: Cain and Abel

  • Miguel de Unamuno, Abel Sánchez: The History of a Passion
  • John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Guilty and Innocent

  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment (profile of a guilty man)
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot (profile of an innocent man)


  • Euripides, Hippolytus
  • Jean Racine, Phèdre
  • Eugene O’Neil, Desire Under the Elms

From the Prison Cell

  • Saint Paul, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon
  • Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy
  • John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress
  • Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
  • Oscar Wilde, De Profundis
  • Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
  • Martin Luther King, Jr., Letters from Birmingham Jail

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