This article focuses on the ways in which intertextual references influence the narration in Ihara Saikaku's 'Koshoku gonin onna' (Five Amorous Women). The author chooses two classical texts, i.e. 'Ise Monogatari' (The Tales of Ise) and Yoshida Kenko's 'Tsurezuregusa' (Essays in Idleness) to illustrate the range of purposes the literary allusions in 'Five Amorous Women' serve. The distinction is made between the purely stylistic use of quotations from 'Tsurezuregusa', which involve neither playing with the source text nor a change in the meaning of Saikaku's narrative, and the parodic use of 'Ise monogatari' evoked mainly to bring humour into the stories. The important difference in the tone used while referring to the two classical works is also emphasised.