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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Friday, May 23, 2008 10:58 am
Judging Books by Their (Working) Titles
Posted by: Keir Graff

For those of you interested in judging books by their titles, David McKie (“The Great Trimalchio,” the Guardian commentisfree) investigates what playwright Neil LaBute calls “a rarely considered miniature art form”: book titles. Many trivia fans already know that Margaret Mitchell considered calling Gone with the Wind the more pedestrian Pansy–but how many know that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise had a working title of The Education of a Personage?

Four years ago, Bill Ott wrote about working titles in the Back Page, and even offered a quiz on the subject. And if you knew that Farewell, My Lovely had a brief existence as Zounds, He Dies, I want you on my pub-quiz team, if I ever get around to starting one.

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