Monday, February 19, 2007

Regardless of its scent, how would a rose by any other name be marketed?

Ever worry that your working title sucks? Maybe it does. If so, you're in illustrious company.

Without further ado, my favorites among bad or so-so working titles for books that were finally published with iconic titles:

Jane Austen First Impressions
(Pride and Prejudice)

Samuel Butler Ernest Pontifex
(The Way of All Flesh)

Stephen Crane Private Fleming, His Various Battles
(The Red Badge of Courage)

Raymond Chandler The Second Murderer OR Sweet Bells Jangle OR Zounds, He Dies
(Farewell, My Lovely)

William Faulkner Twilight
(The Sound and the Fury)

F. Scott Fitzgerald Trimalchio in West Egg OR Hurrah for the Red White and Blue OR The High-bouncing Lover
(The Great Gatsby)

E.M. Forster Monteriano
(Where Angels Fear to Tread)

Thomas Hardy The Body and Soul of Sue
(Tess of the D’Urbervilles)

Joseph Heller Catch-18

Ernest Hemingway They Who Get Shot OR The Sentimental Education of Fredrick Henry OR As Others Are OR An Italian Chronicle
(A Farewell to Arms)

James Herriot It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet
(All Things Bright and Beautiful)

James Jones If Wishes Were Horses
(From Here to Eternity)

D.H. Lawrence The Wedding Ring
(Women in Love)

Carson McCullers The Mute
(The Heart is a Lonely Hunter)

Margaret Mitchell Tote the Weary Load OR Pansy OR Ba! Ba! Black Sheep
(Gone With the Wind)

Thomas Pynchon Low Lands OR The Yo-Yo World of Benny Profane OR Down Paradise Street OR Of a Fond Ghoul OR Dream Tonight of Peacock Tails

John Steinbeck The Salinas Valley
(East of Eden)

Tennessee Williams The Moth OR The Poker Night
(A Streetcar Named Desire)

Most, but not all of these were gleaned from Andre Bernard’s entertaining Now All We Need is a Title.

1 comment:

cate sweeney said...

Oh wow! It's great to know great writers have trouble with titles too! My favourite there has to be ba-ba black sheep! What the ----?
Though I wonder if a lot of the titles only sound good with hindsight...I mean Gone with the Wind always makes me laugh and Farewell to arms walywas sounds like a pub o me!