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Book Titles of the Twentieth Century. How They Work.

Jan 12, 2020

In the last blog, we saw the dominant form for the novel title prior to the Twentieth Century was the eponym - or the name of the main character of the story. To an extent, this is reflective of the tacit understanding of the novel's purpose as form versus a play or a short story or a poem - as one person's moral or literal journey. 

It's all change in the Twentieth Century!

In this first of two, we're going to look at the first half of the century, and in the next the end of the Twentieth Century as there's a sea change from the 1980's.

In the Twentieth Century the eponym is old news and almost gone.

Yes, there's a slightly broader range of 'statements of literary intention' but not so much as you might think.

In fact, the title form from 1900-2000 is dominated by one form.

The Reference. (The Deferential Doffing of the Author's Cap.)

The citation or quotation. A referential, deferential, preferential doffing of the hat either to the Bard, the poets, or to the...

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