[ModLib] Title Disparities Project Launched

Roger Lathbury lathbury at gmu.edu
Mon Jan 14 15:08:21 EST 2013

Perhaps not of special interest to this list serv, but, from a scholarly point of view, the titles of these works are _The Adventures of Tom Sawyer_ and _Adventures of Huckleberry Finn_ (without the definite article). Thus they are written in the first editions of these tales.

Twain's idea may be that these are the discrete and more or less complete adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that Huckleberry Finn, who at the end of the story "light[s] out for the territory ahead of the rest," has more in store for him.

Ironically, if this be true, Twain later wrote _Tom Sawyer Detective_ and _Tom Sawyer Abroad._

Some casualness with the titles of these two books is not misplaced since they have become such living icons in American culture that they can be variously referred to, the way one sometimes does with people one knows well.

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As I mentioned about week ago, Bill Hornick suggested a new project listing variations in titles. Emails have confirmed the usefulness of such a project. Thanks to the large amount of data that Bill sent me to get the project rolling, I've produced a jumpstart page. From the introduction:

"A book's title can vary depending on where you look. Looking at a different place for a book's title can lead to confusion and sometimes to ordering the wrong book from a dealer or picking up the wrong book in a bookstore. This is especially true if the title changes any place in the book package from one printing to another.
"Taking for example Mark Twain's classic works, the book spine in the G5 binding says Tom Sawyer \\ Huckleberry Finn (where \\ indicates a line separation), the title page says The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the dust jacket spine says Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and the dust jacket cover says Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. (A fifth variation might exist, but in this case there's no title on the book cover.) Things can get really sticky if further variations exist in a different printing or binding.

"The Title Disparities Project is designed to help remedy this problem. The goal of this ongoing project is to list all instances where a title changes from place to place, printing to printing, and binding style to binding style."

The page is here:  http://www.modernlib.com/Identifiers/GiantTitleDisparities.html . That page starts the giants portion. Bill also sent me much data for the regular portion, and I'll be working on that one; you can expect the first appearance of it in about another week.

Comments are welcomed, and data contributions to the project are solicited.  Once again, ModernLib projects can succeed ONLY if readers of this mailing list send data!!!!

Scot Kamins
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. -- Maya Angelou

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