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Questions tagged [title]

Questions specifically about the titles of literary works: their meaning, purpose, reception, significance, etc. Do not use to ask for the title of a work you partially remember; use [identification-request] instead

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Does van Gulik's title "The Given Day" specifically mean February 29?

Robert van Gulik's Een gegevan dag was first published in Dutch in 1963 and translated into English by the author as The Given Day the subsequent year. The story takes place on the evening of February ...
verbose's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
254 views

Is the title best translated "A Dollhouse", "A Doll House" or "A Doll's House"?

In the foreword to his translation of Henrik Ibsen's plays, Rolf Fjelde explains that the title of the 1879 play is A Doll House: There is certainly no sound justification for perpetuating the ...
verbose's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
100 views

How did Hitler get the idea for the title “My Struggle”?

Are there any records elaborating on how Hitler came up with the title for his book? Were there any previous books he was emulating or alluding to? Was he influenced by some literary style in his ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
135 views

Who originated "The Life and Lies of xxx"?

The fictional journalist Rita Skeeter famously wrote a book The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. While there have been a number of subsequent ...
mikado's user avatar
  • 2,047
3 votes
1 answer
320 views

What does the title of "Leili" mean?

The poem "Leili" by Sarojini Naidu goes like this: The serpents are asleep among the poppies, The fireflies light the soundless panther's way To tangled paths where shy gazelles are ...
Mithical's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Significance of the title of "Corn-Grinders" by Sarojini Naidu

Sarojini Naidu's "Corn-Grinders" tells the story of several creatures losing their partners, starting with a mouse killed in a trap, to a deer killed by a hunter, to a bride who's lost her ...
Mithical's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
683 views

Where was the story first told that the title of Vanity Fair come to Thackeray in a "eureka moment" in bed?

In his preface to Summer Lightning, P. G. Wodehouse makes reference to the story that William Makepeace Thackeray had a "eureka moment" in bed wherein he, Thackeray, suddenly had the idea ...
calmcc's user avatar
  • 313
1 vote
2 answers
114 views

Difference between two similarly-named books - 'The Bear Who Wanted to [Be|Stay] a Bear'

My daughter told me she wants to read the book The Bear Who Wanted to Stay a Bear by Jörg Steiner with me, probably after reading it at school. Google yields search results for these differently-but-...
terrykimura's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
202 views

Why did Gurnah title this story "Cages"?

The short story "Cages" by Abdulrazak Gurnah is about a man, Hamid, who works as a shopkeeper - his day-to-day life and his feelings for the young woman Rukiya who comes to his shop. What is ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
631 views

A website to see the complete list of titles under which the book was published

There are many "old" books that are known by different titles. For example, La Mule sans frein (English: The Mule Without a Bridle), which is also known as La Demoiselle à la mule (English: ...
jsx97's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
123 views

What is the significance of the chapter title “Detention With Dolores”?

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix the title of the thirteenth chapter is “Detention With Dolores”. It strikes me as odd that Dolores is used in the title, as the book is from Harry’s ...
Alex's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
595 views

What is the relationship between Angelou's poem "Caged bird" and book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"?

What is the relationship between the poem "Caged bird" and the book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings? One seems to be an autobiography and the other a poem, but they have overlapping titles ...
temporary_user_name's user avatar
-4 votes
1 answer
141 views

Why do authors and publishers allow inscrutable titles? [closed]

I’m thinking of books such as Consider Phlebas by Banks. The book was big in sci-fi and launched a ten-book series, but you would never know what the heck the title is about. How is that allowed to ...
user354948's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
291 views

What does the title "Three Parts Dead" mean?

The first book in Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence is Three Parts Dead. While it's certainly an intriguing title, after reading the book I'm still confused about what it is meant to refer to. Who's &...
bobble's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
61 views

Do sign-language works typically have native sign-language titles?

While doing some looking into sign language literature for a current topic challenge, I noticed that all the works I was coming across, while entirely in sign language themselves, were given English/...
bobble's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
280 views

Choice of title in Nausea (Sartre)?

Long ago a reader of this book told me that Sartre wanted a word that described something worse than pain (I see in the wikipedia article that the original title was Melancholia) or perhaps some ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 490
2 votes
1 answer
83 views

Common practice for references to oeuvres with multiple titles

Many historical oeuvres are known by multiple names and/or multiple variations of each name. For example: The title of Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur was originally written as Le morte Darthur, ...
john c. j.'s user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
60 views

Why is "warm" removed in the translated English title of Eberhardt's "In the Shadow of Islam"?

Isabelle Eberhardt's book Dans l'Ombre Chaude de l'Islam has a title whose direct English translation would be "In the Warm Shadow of Islam". My guess is that the word "chaude", ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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18 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why is Dante's Magnum Opus Called a 'Divine Comedy'?

I can see little reason for Dante to name his work a 'divine comedy.' At least with Inferno, I can better see it as a tragedy. Why did he choose to name his work as he did?
Wyvern123's user avatar
  • 368
6 votes
1 answer
898 views

Why are so many Agatha Christie novels published with multiple titles?

For example: And Then There Were None was first called Ten Little Indians; The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side was later shortened to The Mirror Crack'd; Death in the Air is also known as Death in ...
Wyvern123's user avatar
  • 368
19 votes
4 answers
3k views

What is meant by the title "The Color of Money"?

I remember encountering the phrase when I was a kid, not knowing the context, not being able to get a satisfactory answer from the adults, and figuring I'd discover it when I was older. Now it's 700 ...
Tom's user avatar
  • 714
2 votes
1 answer
608 views

What is the correct title of Sara Coleridge's poem about the months?

Sara Coleridge's poem begins: January brings the snow makes our feet and fingers glow I have seen this listed as: The Garden Year The Months January brings the snow What is the correct / original ...
Phil Preen's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
78 views

Why does Amado repeat the word morte in the title of his novel A Morte e a Morte de Quincas Berro d'Água?

The title of Jorge Amado's novel A Morte e a Morte de Quincas Berro d'Água (1959) has been translated in various ways: The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell, The Double Death of Quincas Water-Bray (...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.8k
7 votes
1 answer
203 views

What does "in Twos and Threes" mean in this Robert Bly poem?

I'm reading Bly's book of poems Stealing Sugar from the Castle. I cannot understand the title of "Love Poem in Twos and Threes". Does "in Twos and Threes" mean small groups of ...
Angela Hu's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
857 views

Why has this Premchand story been translated as both "Catastrophe" and "A Positive Change"?

There is a Premchand short story whose original Hindi title is "Vidhwans"; it's been translated into English as "Catastrophe", as seen here, but the same story has also been ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.5k
1 vote
0 answers
73 views

Why would "Bareface" be mistaken for a Western?

From the Wikipedia page on C.S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces: C. S. Lewis originally titled his working manuscripts "Bareface". The editor (Gibb) rejected the title "Bareface" on ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.5k
5 votes
2 answers
145 views

Was the title of "O Russet Witch!" a quotation from somewhere?

Fitzgerald's story "'O Russet Witch!'" appears in his collection Tales of the Jazz Age. The quotation marks are part of the story's title; it's the only story in the collection to sport this ...
Michael Weiss's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why is Roald Dahl's short story called "Nunc Dimittis"?

Roald Dahl wrote a short story called "Nunc Dimittis" (though Wikipedia states that it was first published in 1953 as "The Devious Bachelor"). The story is described here on ...
equin0x80's user avatar
  • 457
2 votes
1 answer
235 views

What if it were named '*The* Animal Farm'?

This question was inspired by a recent comment to a previous question of mine. In that question, I asked about the literary effect of dropping the articles from titles of novels and films. Even there, ...
linguisticturn's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
163 views

Who is "The Rithmatist"?

The Rithmatist is a book (first in a planned series by the same name) by Sanderson. Who exactly is "the" Rithmatist referred to by the title? The school that is the main setting for the book ...
bobble's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
243 views

Why is Amy Chua's book called "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" instead of "Battle Hymn of the Mother-Tigress"?

In my language, the title of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother has been translated as Боевой гимн матери-тигрицы, which translates to "Battle hymn of the mother-tigress". I think Ms Chua meant ...
Alice's user avatar
  • 31
0 votes
0 answers
85 views

Meaning of “City Lites”

I'm reading The Sellout by Paul Beatty. One of the sections is titled: "City Lites" The first thing that comes to my mind is Charlie Chaplin's famous movie. But what else can be understood ...
my name depends on you's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
182 views

What is the correct translation of the title "Les Fourmis" by Boris Vian?

The literal translation of "les fourmis" is "the ants". It is one of the titles under which the story was published in English (for example, the translation by Rawdon Corbett). The ...
DrTyrsa's user avatar
  • 1,275
2 votes
1 answer
132 views

Why is the Marquis de Sade "suddenly a block of abyss"?

The question pertains to Annie Le Brun's Soudain un bloc d'abîme, Sade ("suddenly a block of abyss, Sade", published in English translation as Sade: A Sudden Abyss). What justifies its title?...
Pallab Behari Chaklanabis's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
827 views

What does "speed the plow" mean in David Mamet's play?

What does Speed-the-Plow mean in David Mamet's play? I know that it is a traditional song that farmers sang to ask God to bless their crops. But I can't figure out the relationship between the meaning ...
user12893's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
1k views

Justifying the title of Shaw’s play “Arms and the Man”

The title of Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man is a reference to Virgil’s work, but why the reference? What similarity do they have? The title seems quite consistent if it is seen through the events of ...
Knight wants Loong back's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
382 views

How was Jude obscure in Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure?

I have recently completed the novel Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy and as always the title left me baffled. In the whole novel it was Sue who seems (if one just uses one's own viewpoint and judges ...
Knight wants Loong back's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
41 views

Does Muriel Barbery's title "The Elegance of The Hedgehog" reflect knowledge of Archilochus' aphorism?

Does Muriel Barbery's title The Elegance of The Hedgehog reflect knowledge of Archilochus' aphorism? Is there information or proof that Barbery had Archilocus' aphorism in mind?
Stanley Dorman's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
421 views

Where did Boccaccio refer to Dante's Comedia or Commedia as the Divine Comedy?

The English Wikipedia article about Dante's Divine Comedy contains the following paragraph, which contains a statement that has no source (emphasis mine): The work was originally simply titled ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.8k
5 votes
0 answers
55 views

Why does Petrarch's sequence of poems to Laura have three different titles?

Petrarch's celebrated sequence of 366 poems to Laura goes by three different titles. As far as I can tell, they're used interchangeably: Il Canzoniere, The Songbook Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta, ...
verbose's user avatar
  • 28.3k
2 votes
0 answers
91 views

How do the lyrics of "上を向いて歩こう" relate to its English title "Sukiyaki"?

The English title of the Japanese song 上を向いて歩こう is a head scratcher. The lyrics: 上を向いて歩こう 涙がこぼれないように 思い出す 春の日 一人ぽっちの夜 上を向いて歩こう にじんだ星をかぞえて 思い出す 夏の日 一人ぽっちの夜 幸せは 雲の上に 幸せは 空の上に 上を向いて歩こう 涙がこぼれないように 泣きながら ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
  • 1,396
45 votes
2 answers
11k views

Was the title "The Lord of the Rings" picked on purpose to be ambiguous?

In one sense, it might refer to "the lord of" the rings, as in the person or entity currently in possession of The One ring. In another way, it could (IMO) mean that The One ring is "...
B. Braunsdorf's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
346 views

What inspired the title of "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?"?

Why Didn't They Ask Evans? is a novel by Agatha Christie. In the story, a dying man's last words "Why didn't they ask Evans?" inspires an amateur detective investigation, in which ultimately ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.5k
4 votes
0 answers
115 views

Why was the title of Mark Twain's jumping frog short story changed so much?

I just learned from another question about a short story by Mark Twain entitled "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", which, when I looked it up online to find a copy-pastable ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.5k
5 votes
1 answer
324 views

What is the original Korean title of "The Tiger and the Persimmon"?

This short Korean folk story has been variously translated into English: The Tiger and the Persimmon Tiger and Dried Persimmon The Tiger and the Dried Persimmons The Tiger and the Dried Persimmon I ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.5k
3 votes
2 answers
576 views

Relationship between title and protagonist's fate in Tolstoy's God Sees the Truth, but Waits

I went through Tolstoy's story God Sees the Truth, But Waits but I wonder what the title suggests and how it suits the story in regard to the protagonist Aksionov. A good innocent man is wrongly ...
Baskaran Soundararajan's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
641 views

Why the name "The Winter's Tale" for Shakespeare's play?

The Shakespeare play The Winter's Tale does not actually take place entirely in winter (unlike, say, A Midsummer Night's Dream where almost all the action does indeed take place on midsummer night). ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.5k
3 votes
1 answer
8k views

Why the difference in title between English title and American title of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

In British releases, the mystery novel written by Stuart Turton was released as Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. However, the novel in America is released as The Seven and a half Deaths of Evelyn ...
North Læraðr's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
498 views

Origin of the title of "La Dragontea" by Lope de Vega?

Why Lope de Vega titled his poem La Dragontea, what were the prerequisites? I tried to search the etymology of this word but was not successful. Yes, I know that Chinese Dragon Tea exists, but I ...
Suncatcher's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
112 views

In what tradition are sagas named some variation of the protagonist's name?

I know some novels or sagas where the title of the work appears to be some variation of the protagonist's name. For example, the Aeneid is named after Aeneas. In high fantasy, the Belgariad is named ...
K--'s user avatar
  • 141