One of Plato's dialogues, the Phaedo describes the death of Socrates. As such it discusses many ideas to do with death, such as the immortality of the soul and the nature of the afterlife.
This is the opening line, and refrain, of Bowie's song 'Space Oddity' from his 1969 album of the same name. The song was released as a single to coincide with the Apollo 11 moon landing on 11th July 1969.
Richard mentions two famous French writers. Marcel Proust (1871-1922), was the author of In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu), the famous six-volume, 3,700-page novel about jealous love and memory. George Sand (real name Amantine Dupin, 1804-1876) was an influence on Proust, and a friend of Gustave Flaubert. She was a prolific writer, the first French woman considered to be a literary great. Her novels include François le Champi, La Petite Fadette, and Indiana.
Quintus Horatius Flaccus (Known as Horace, 65 B.C.-8 B.C.) was a Roman lyric poet. He lived during the time of Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome. The son of a freed slave, Horace studied Greek and philosophy in Athens before serving in the Roman army under Brutus. He was a friend of Virgil and Maecenas, who bought him a country estate in the Sabine Hills, where he composed poetry extolling the benefits of the simple life.
The Kabbalah is a mystical form of Judaism that seeks to explain the fundamental relationship between God, who is eternal, and the mortal universe. The Kabbalah interprets knowledge, starting with overt meaning and ending with the esoteric, hidden, inner meaning. Although Jewish mysticism is as old as the religion itself, Kabbalah recently suffered a surge of popular interest when prominent celebrities such as Madonna adopted it.
Reichian analysis follows the theories of Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957), one of the most influential figures in the field of psychiatry and psychotherapy. Born into a Jewish family in Austria, he fled Nazi Germany in 1933, eventually settling in the United States. As well as influencing psychoanalysis, he also had an impact on a range of writers including William S. Burroughs, Saul Bellow and Normal Mailer.
Kidnapped is an 1886 novel by the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson.
Davy Balfour is the central character and narrator of the adventure, which was based around historical events in eighteenth-century Scotland. It tells the story of Balfour's kidnapping, his shipwreck on a desert island and subsequent adventures with Highland Jacobites.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was one of Donna Tartt's favourite writers when she was a child. His work, which also includes Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, has been widely admired by other writers including Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, and Vladimir Nabokov.