For a show that advertised as nothing, comedy Seinfeld It sure touched a lot of different topics. The best-known topics involved relationship problems, problems with coworkers, and learning to live in peace among the many eccentric citizens of New York City.
One of the show’s often overlooked features was its literary emphasis, a rare component in most modern sitcoms. The main character was a comedian, and he was occasionally shown at his table trying to write some new material.
Her friend and ex-lover Elaine (played by Julia Louis Dreyfuss) works for a publishing house, where her main job is reading manuscripts. His father also became involved in the world of books, having been the author of several works.
In addition to the literary ties involved in their various occupations, the characters often directly mentioned or alluded to famous books. Here are nine of those titles and the episodes they were referenced in.
Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer
It was this controversial novel mentioned in the episode of “The Library” that Jerry thought had caused a visit from the book cop, Mr. Bookman, who was investigating a novel that Seinfeld had read when he was in high school.
Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller
At the end of “The Library,” an old girlfriend reveals that it was this novel by the same author that Jerry had put out, and the book is displayed among the possessions of his former but now homeless PE teacher.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The 1994 episode of “The Marine Biologist” is memorable for George (played by Jason Alexander) who pretends to have that profession, but Elaine gets into trouble with her employers when she claims that this Russian classic was originally titled War, what is it good for?
Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
After joining a book club in the 1994 episode called “The Couch,” George discovers that he can’t get away with this American classic. He ends up inviting himself to see the play with the family who had rented the only copy of the film.
So literary was the sitcom that he not only used the library as a title, but in 1998 he also named another “The Bookstore.” George takes this book to the bathroom with him, but the store forces him to buy it and makes it impossible for him to sell or even give it away.
Falconer by John Cheever
Susan’s father is accused of having had an affair with the American author in a 1992 episode called “The Cheever Letters”, after Kramer found some love letters between the two men. This book is the only work directly mentioned in the show, although the writers could have chosen from a large number of Cheever’s anthology.
Daniel O’Brien’s Big Game
In a 1992 episode called “The Limo”, George and Jerry pretend to be this author and his friend, even though neither of them had heard of the book that was the focus of discussion on the limo ride.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
This classic novel about children stranded on a secluded island is referenced in the 1991 episode with the appropriate title “The Library.”
Cape Fear by John D. McDonald
Elaine mentions this title in the 1991 episode “The Red Dot”, shortly before discovering the little crimson mark on the sweater George had given her.