Saturday, 19 November 2016

Brookner's Titles

Brookner's titles (and for this post American titles are also considered) are a mixed bag. Classically, novel titles referred to people and places (Clarissa, The Small House at Allington) or derived from quotations (Pride and Prejudice, Far From the Madding Crowd). References to themes and plot points (Great Expectations, The Moonstone) were less common. More figurative titles crept in after James.

Names
  • Lewis Percy (1989)
  • Dolly (1993)
Places
  • Hotel du Lac (1984)
  • A Friend from England (1987)
  • Incidents in the Rue Laugier (1995)
  • The Bay of Angels (2001)
  • 'At the Hairdresser's' (2011)
Quotations
  • A Start in Life / The Debut (1981) (Cf. Balzac's novel of the same name)
  • A Misalliance (1986) (Cf. Maupassant's 'Mesalliance')
  • Brief Lives (1990)
  • A Closed Eye (1991)
  • A Family Romance (1993)
  • Falling Slowly (1998)
Abstract nouns
  • Providence (1982)
  • Fraud (1992)
Plural nouns
  • Latecomers (1988)
  • Visitors (1997)
  • Strangers (2009)
Gerunds
  • Falling Slowly (1998)
  • Making Things Better (2002)
  • Leaving Home (2005)
Legalistic terms
  • Fraud (1992)
  • Undue Influence (1999)
  • The Rules of Engagement (2003)
Psychoanalytic terms
  • A Family Romance (1993)
  • Altered States (1996)
Common phrases
  • Look at Me (1983)
  • A Private View (1994)
  • The Next Big Thing (2002)
The indefinite article
  • A Start in Life (1981)
  • A Misalliance (1986)
  • A Friend from England (1987)
  • A Closed Eye (1991)
  • A Family Romance (1993)
  • A Private View (1994)
The definite article
  • The Misalliance (1986)
  • The Bay of Angels (2001)
  • The Next Big Thing (2002)
  • The Rules of Engagement (2003)
And one that Ivy Compton-Burnett missed:
  • Family and Friends (1985)
Before the age of the Internet made this game much easier, I would search Paris bookshops for Brookner titles and try to work out which was which.

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