Short Title: Long, Elaborate Subtitle
A common form of title, sometimes used in academic works, that can sound rather pretentious. Only the first bit is usually used in reviews or discussion.
May be used to evoke an older era, when such subtitles were more common, or a faux-academic style.
Very likely to be an Either/Or Title
. Compare Excited Title! Two-Part Episode Name!
. Subtrope of Long Title
See also Colon Cancer
, Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness
, The Fantastic Trope of Wonderous Titles
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- Many nonfiction books released in the USA since 2000, for some reason most commonly with political polemics, in the form of Liars and Scumbags: How Person X Ripped Off the Banks, Toppled the Government, and Changed the World. The typical formula is Punchy Title: Subtitle That Explains What the Book's Actually About, as often seen with both popular and scholarly history books.
- The Daily Show, which frequently interviews authors of nonfiction books, has remarked on the phenomenon.
- Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease
- 40 Days and 40 Nights: Darwin, Intelligent Design, God, OxyContin, and Other Oddities on Trial in Pennsylvania
- Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science
- Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal: For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public
- Stephen Donaldson's Gap series, beginning with The Gap into Conflict: The Real Story. OK, some of the subtitles were longer and more elaborate than that...
- Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot: Being the Correspondence of Two Young Ladies of Quality Regarding Various Magical Scandals in London and the Country. And its sequels.
- Greg Palast's books The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth about Globalization, Corporate Cons and High-Finance Fraudsters and Armed Madhouse: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats, Bush Sinks, The Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's Behind Left, and Other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War. Interestingly, not used in Palast's work in other media, such as his comic book "Steal Back Your Vote," or his films "Bush Family Fortunes" and "The Assassination of Hugo Chavez."
- Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House With Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog. Just for the record, they are not exaggerating about any of it, including the rooms. The sequel, for the curious, is entitled Flora's Dare: How a Girl of Spirit Gambles All to Expand Her Vocabulary, Confront a Bouncing Boy Terror, and Try to Save Califa from a Shaky Doom (Despite Being Confined to Her Room).
- The third volume of Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle, Brisingr, is subtitled "The Seven Promises of Eragon Shadeslayer and Saphira Bjartskular". Good luck pronouncing any of that though.
- Andre Norton's Scarface: Being the story of one Justin Blade, late of the pirate isle of Tortuga, and how fate deal justly deal with him to his great profit
- G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare. Indeed, he complained that people forgot it and so misunderstood the book:
But this error was entirely due to the fact that they had read the book but had not read the title page. In my case, it is true, it was a question of a subtitle rather than a title. The book was called The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare.
- Although it's really an inversion, as the longer bit is the actual title and the shorter bit is the subtitle.
- Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. At least that's on the cover (depending on edition) and frontispeice. The Dramatis Personae page extends it to Good Omens: A Narrative of Certain Events occurring in the last eleven years of human history, in strict accordance as shall be shewn with: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter. Compiled and edited, with Footnotes of an Educational Nature and Precepts for the Wise, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.
- And the book within the book is The Nife and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter: Being a Certaine and Prefice Hiftory from the Prefent Day Unto the Endinge of this World, Containing therein Many Diuerse Wonders and precepts for the Wife, More complete than ever yet before publifhed, Concerning the Strange Times Aheade, And Events of a Wonderful Nature.
- Christopher Ward's parody of Lady Into Fox by David Garnett amps up the original's pastiche of 18th century literature. This includes giving it the title Gentleman Into Goose - Being the Exact and True Account of Mr. Timothy Teapot Gent., of Puddleditch, in Dorset, that was Changed to a great Grey Gander at the wish of his Wife. How, though a Gander, he did wear Breeches, and Smoak a Pipe. How he near lost his Life to his Dog, Tyger. You have, also, an account of his Gallantries with a Goose, very Diverting to Read, and many other Surprising Adventures, full of Wonder and Merriment, and a Full Relation of the Manner of his Dismal End. Worthy to be had in all Families for a Warning to Wives and by all Bachelors intending Marriage.
- The third book in the Captain Underpants series somewhat falls into this, but also into Character Name and the Noun Phrase territory: Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds).
- Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother: This is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it’s about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old.
- Humorist Roy Blount, Jr. is rather fond of these:
- Crackers: This Whole Many-Angled Thing of Jimmy, More Carters, Ominous Little Animals, Sad Singing Women, My Daddy, and Me
- Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof: Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, Tinctures, Tonics, and Essences; With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory (whew!)
- Hail, Hail, Euphoria!: Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, the Greatest War Movie Ever Made
- Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five's full title is Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut, a Fourth-Generation German-American Now Living in Easy Circumstances on Cape Cod [and Smoking Too Much], Who, as an American Infantry Scout Hors de Combat, as a Prisoner of War, Witnessed the Fire Bombing of Dresden, Germany, ‘The Florence of the Elbe,’ a Long Time Ago, and Survived to Tell the Tale. This Is a Novel Somewhat in the Telegraphic Schizophrenic Manner of Tales of the Planet Tralfamadore, Where the Flying Saucers Come From. Peace.
- A Stranger Here Myself: Being the Life Story and Revelations of Mister Rab C. Nesbitt of Govan by Ian Pattison.
- An Almanac of Complete World Knowledge Compiled with Instructive Annotation and Arranged in Useful Order by Me, John Hodgman, a Professional Writer, in The Areas of My Expertise, which Include: Matters Historical; Matters Literary; Matters Cryptozoological; Hobo Matters; Food, Drink, & Cheese (a Kind of Food); Squirrels & Lobsters & Eels; Haircuts; Utopia; What Will Happen in the Future; and Most Other Subjects; Illustrated with a Reasonable Number of Tables and Figures, and Featuring the Best of "Were You Aware of It?", John Hodgman's Long-Running Newspaper Novelty Column of Strange Facts and Oddities of the Bizarre.
- For your Consideration, The Firms of Dutton & Riverhead Books of New York City, Publishers of Ken Follett, Darin Strauss, David Rees, and the RZA, Present in the English Language: A Further Compendium of Complete World Knowledge in "The Areas of My Expertise" Assembled and Illumined by Me, John Hodgman, A Famous Minor Television Personalitynote , Offering More Information Than You Require On subjects as Diverse As: The Past (As There Is Always More of It), The Future (As There is Still Some Left), All of the Presidents of the United States, The Secrets of Hollywood, Gambling, The Sport of the Asthmatic Man (Including Hermit-Crab Racing), Strange Encounters with Aliens, How to Buy a Computer, How to Cook an Owl, And Most Other Subjects, Plus: Answers To Your Questions Posed via Electronic Mail, And: 700 Mole-Man Names, Including Their Occupations.
- The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pirates. This book has a long title followed by a marathonic subtitle.
- Sometimes the title itself is a spoiler for the entire book: The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, &c. Who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums.
- Paul Cornell's Shakespearian pastiche Doctor Who story has an Either/Or Title and a Short Title, Long Elaborate Subtitle: "The Trials of Tara, Or Would That It Were; The Comedie of Count Grendell the Mafter of Grach With the Life and Death of his New Executioner".
- The game show Press Your Luck was revived in the early 2000s for GSN as Whammy: The All-New Press Your Luck. The title format spawned a Memetic Mutation on the newsgroup alt.tv.game-shows, where other games would be given titles pertaining to their equivalent of the Whammy (such as Bankrupt! The All-New Wheel of Fortune.
- Bright Eyes' Lifted: Or Keep Your Ear to the Ground, the Story Is in the Soil. Yep, that's the title.
- Bill Frisell's "Hard Plains Drifter or, As I Take My Last Breath and the Noose Grows Tight, the Incredible Events of the Past Three Days Flash Before My Eyes"
- The Blow's The Concussive Caress, or, Casey Caught Her Mom Singing Along With the Vacuum.
- White Zombie's "Astro Creep 2000: Songs of Love, Destruction, and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head"
- Rob Zombie's "Hellbilly Deluxe 2: Noble Jackals, Penny Dreadfuls and the Systematic Dehumanization of Cool"
- The Kinks' "Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)"
- Tsukihime: Blue Blue Glass Moon, Under The Crimson Air.
- A Fully Homomorphic Encryption Scheme: A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of Computer Science and the Committee of Graduate Studies of Stanford University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, by Craig Gentry, and plenty of other graduate theses.