The Man in the High Castle

Inspirations

Dick said he conceived The Man in the High Castle when reading Bring the Jubilee (1953), by Ward Moore, which occurs in an alternate nineteenth-century U.S. wherein the Confederate States of America won the American Civil War. In the acknowledgments, he mentions other influences: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960), by William L. Shirer; Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (1962), by Alan Bullock; The Goebbels Diaries (1948), Louis P. Lochner, translator; Foxes of the Desert (1960), by Paul Carrell; and the I Ching (1950), Richard Wilhelm, translator.[2][3]

The acknowledgments have three references to traditional Japanese and Tibetan poetic forms; (i) volume one of the Anthology of Japanese Literature (1955), edited by Donald Keene, from which is cited the haiku on page 48; (ii) from Zen and Japanese Culture (1955), by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, from which is cited a waka on page 135; and (iii) the Tibetan Book of the Dead (1960), edited by W. Y. Evans-Wentz.

Nathanael West's Miss Lonelyhearts (1933)[4] is also mentioned in the text,[5] written before the Roosevelt assassination divergence point that separates the world of The Man in the High Castle from ours. In this novella, "Miss Lonelyhearts" is a male newspaper journalist who writes anonymous advice as an agony aunt to forlorn readers during the height of the Great Depression; hence, "Miss Lonelyhearts" tries to find consolation in religion, casual sex, rural vacations, and work, none of which provide him with the sense of authenticity and engagement with the outside world that he needs. West's book is about the elusive quality of interpersonal relationships and quest for personal meaning at a time of political turmoil within the United States.

Philip Dick used the I Ching to make decisions crucial to the plot of The Man in the High Castle just as characters within the novel use the I Ching to guide decisions.[2]


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