Ah, the importance of titles. Yes, Tolstoy originally entitled War And Peace with the Shakespearean title, under which it was first printed. And Shakespeare (as far as we know) did not put any of the titles to his plays as we know them today. Kafka had some of his titles changed by Max Brod. And I'll leave you to guess which well-known book was originally called Wacking Off. As for me, I believe there can be nothing more succinct than The Elephant Talks To God.
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It’s a well-known fact that authors, for all their brilliance, can be less than visionary when it comes to coming up with titles. We understand — so much goes into the perfect title, both from an artistic and a commercial point of view, and when you’re so close to the work at hand, we can imagine how it could be a little challenging to see the issue from all angles. But even if a writer is particularly talented at title-penning, the names of books can go through as many permutations as the text itself before they see the light of day. Plus, for good or ill, writers have husbands, wives, publishers and others to weigh in, causing even more changes. Lovers of book trivia, read on: after the jump you’ll find our list of what some classic works were almost called. Check it out and let us know whether you think the changes were for the better or the worse in the comments.
When Jane Austen’s father submitted an early version of her second novel, First Impressions, to a publisher on her behalf, it was rejected. As Pride and Prejudice, it did much better. [via]
Don DeLillo wanted to name his 1985 breakout novel Panasonic, but the corporation’s lawyers protested, and he settled for White Noise. [via]
Once Max Brod got his hands on it, Kafka’s The Man Who Disappeared was retitled as Amerika. [via]