Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Titles ain't what they used to be (1 Viewer)

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
A couple from the seventeenth century.

The plaine mans path-way to heauen : wherein euery man may clearly see, whether he shall be saued or damned : set forth dialogue wise, for the better understanding of the simple. Published in 1601.

or even better,

The Ruine of Rome. Or, An Exposition upon the whole Revelation. Wherein is plainly shown and proved, that the Popish religion, together with all the power and authority of Rome, shall ebbe and decay still more and more throughout all the churches of Europe, and come to an utter overthrow even in this life, before the end of the world. Written especially for the comfort of Protestants, and the daunting of Papists, Seminary Priests, Jesuits, and all the cursed rabble. Published 1607.

But it was the author that really caught my attention, none other than Arthur Dent; hope he had his towel handy :)
 

ehbowen

Senior Member
A couple from the seventeenth century.

But it was the author that really caught my attention, none other than Arthur Dent; hope he had his towel handy :)

One wonders whether Douglas Adams was aware of the man when he was choosing a name for his protagonist...
 

CyberWar

Senior Member
I would think these extravagant titles on old books were a form of marketing. In an age when literacy was still far from commonplace, newspapers weren't yet a thing and public advertisements were pretty much limited to shop signs and merchants verbally touting their wares in the street or marketplace, there just wasn't a lot of ways for authors to inform potential readers about their books outside the bookstore. Any man of letters coming to enrich his library would surely want to know what exactly he would be paying for, so many writers and publishers consequently took to elaborating the book's content in the title itself.

At least that's my educated guess on why such titles used to be a thing once.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
A little bit later, during the civil war period, people were publishing pamphlets , levelers, ranters etc. and a lot of them have really good titles, from memory "A Light shining in Bedfordshire2 and "Several Fiery Flying Rolls". It was an age of sudden freedoms.
 
Top