There Are More Bad Titles Than Good Ones

The February Glimmer Train bulletin is now available, and I found this delightful gem on titling by Eric Puchner:

Still, the fact remains that there are many more bad titles than good ones. I’ve seen some jaw-droppingly awful titles, often from very gifted writers. And I’m not just talking about my students: The Great Gatsby is an inspired title, one for the ages, but keep in mind it wasn’t Fitzergerald’s idea. He wanted to call the novel Trimalchio in West Egg, which sounds like something Dr. Seuss might have dreamed up for the Playboy channel. An early version of Portnoy’s Complaint was called A Jewish Patient Begins His Analysis. At various times, Catch-22 was called Catch-18, Catch-11, Catch-14, and Catch-17. And some classic novels have stood the test of time, despite having terrible titles. (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, for example, never fails to make me giggle.

Now, also go read:

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