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Short Title: Long, Elaborate Subtitle

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Creators that want an easy-to-remember title will choose something short. Possibly even a One-Word Title, but if they want something evocative of what actually occurs in the work, the title will end up much longer. As a compromise, some creators choose a shorter title that will be easier to remember and a subtitle that is much longer and more elaborate.

Subtitles to the main title may end up with Colon Cancer or be presented as an Either/Or Title. Such titles are common in Non-Fiction, and may appear in fiction to mock the academic jargon. Alternatively, these titles may be intended to evoke an older era, where titles were commonly In Which a Trope Is Described and Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Nevertheless, elaborate titles that ultimately say nothing useful about the content would overlap with The Fantastic Trope of Wonderous Titles.

Works that fit this trope must demonstrate a long subtitle by being at least seven words long. Works that fit this trope must demonstrate an elaborate subtitle by being twice as long as the shorter main title. If more detail about the purpose of the title is available, it should appear as additional context.

This may also overlap with Excited Title! Two-Part Episode Name! or The Foreign Subtitle.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Audio Plays 
  • Bert and I...: The third album is called The Return of Bert and I: How the Bluebird II Plugged the Hole in the Machias Maru, Thus Saving the Coast of Maine and Other Stories, a 20-word subtitle that summarizes the entire title track.

    Cook Books 
  • The first truly American cookbook (i.e., containing original American recipes, in contrast to earlier cookbooks which, though published in the United States, were either reprints or adapted versions of European cookbooks), published in 1796, was titled American Cookery, or the Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry, and Vegetables, and the Best Modes of Making Pastes, Puffs, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards, and Preserves, and All Kinds of Cakes, from the Imperial Plumb to Plain Cake. Adapted to This Country, and All Grades of Life. By Amelia Simmons, An American Orphan.
  • A Kindle-published title; Coffee Beans: How to buy coffee beans and then use the best coffee beans from green coffee beans to gourmet coffee beans including chocolate covered coffee beans. It's a mouthful in more ways than one.
  • How to Mix Drinks: Or, The Bon-vivant's Companion, Containing Clear and Reliable Directions for Mixing All the Beverages Used in the United States, Together with the Most Popular British, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish Recipes, Embracing Punches, Juleps, Cobblers, Etc., Etc., Etc., in Endless Variety by Jerry Thomas, the first manual on how to make cocktails—including the Blue Blazer, the first Flaming Cocktail.
  • "The Practical Distiller: or an introduction to making Whiskey, Gin, Brandy, Spirits, &c. &c. of better quality, and in larger quantities, than produced by the present mode of distilling, from the produce of the United States: such as Rye, Corn, Buckwheat, Apples, Peaches, Potatoes, Pumpions[sic] and Turnips. With directions how to conduct and improve the practical part of distilling in all its branches. Together with directions for purifying, clearing and colouring Whiskey, making Spirits similar to French Brandy, &c. from the Spirits of Rye, Corn, Apples, Potatoes &c. &c. and sundry extracts of approved receipts for making Cider, domestic Wines, and Beer." By Samuel McHarry, of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania (1809) is notable for not only being immensely long, but also including '&c.' (etc.) in its title. Meaning it is in some ways an abbreviation.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • The Netanyahus. The actual title is The Netanyahus: An Account of a Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Episode in the History of a Very Famous Family. The story is set 1959-60 and the protagonist is a history professor who recounts how he met another professor named Benzion Netanyahu, and his Young Future Famous People sons Yonathan (hero and martyr of the Raid on Entebbe) and younger son Benjamin (future Prime Minister of Israel).
  • 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
  • The film Moneyball is an adaptation of the nonfiction book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.
  • Another sports film, Invictus, was adapted from the nonfiction book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation.
  • 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
  • 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: 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 Chávez."
    • The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth about Globalization, Corporate Cons and High-Finance Fraudsters
    • 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.
  • 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).
  • Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle: The third volume, Brisingr, is subtitled "The Seven Promises of Eragon Shadeslayer and Saphira Bjartskular". Good luck pronouncing any of that though.
  • Andre Norton:
    • The Ruritanian romance The Prince Commands: Being Sundry Adventures of Michael Karl, Sometime Crown Prince & Pretender to the Throne of Morvania
    • The historical adventure 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
  • Good Omens:
    • On the cover (depending on edition) and frontispeice is Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. 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 In-Universe is the book of prophecies; 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 published, 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).
  • 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 by John Hodgman.
  • As Long Threatened and Longer Postponed, Herein You Will Find: A Third Compendium ("Tri-Pendium") of Complete World Knowledge, Now and Finally Complete, As Set Down by Me, A Former Professional Literary Writer; A Former Former Professional Literary Agent; A Minor Television Personality Who Is Arguably Still Famous in Some Circles; And...A Current DERANGED MILLIONAIRE, Who Is Known in Your Language as JOHN HODGMAN Simultaneously Covering and Uncovering Such Previously Un-touched-upon Subjects as...The Practice and Pronunciation of "Oenophilia"; The Ancient Teachings of the Americanomicon; The Meaning of Your Dreams; Gentleman Criminals; How Boats Work; How to Raise Sperm Whales; The Secrets of the Master Magicians; How to Finally Become Happy and Wealthy as a Deranged Millionaire Before the Coming Global Super-Apocalypse and the End of Civilization, aka "Ragnarok"; Plus: Sports! As Well as Most Other Subjects, At Last in Such Sufficiency as to Report: That is All
  • 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, by Daniel Defoe.
  • 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.
  • From Robert Louis Stevenson:
    • Kidnapped: Being Memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour in the Year 1751: How he was Kidnapped and Cast away; his Sufferings in a Desert Isle; His Journey in the Wild Highlands; his acquaintance with Alan Breck Stewart and other notorious Highland Jacobites; with all that he suffered at the hands of his Uncle, Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws, falsely so-called
    • The lesser-known sequel is David Balfour: Being Memoirs of his Adventures at home and Abroad, The Second Part: In which are set forth his Misfortunes anent the Appin Murder; his Troubles with Lord Advocate Grant; Captivity on the Bass Rock; Journey into Holland and France; and Singular Relations with James More Drummond or MacGregor, a Son of the notorious Rob Roy, and his Daughter Catriona. It's commonly referred to as "Catriona" for short, rather than "David Balfour" (although some editions do use the latter title), because both books are about David Balfour but only this one is about Catriona.
  • Paul Cornell's Shakespearian pastiche Doctor Who Short Story overlaps with Either/Or Title; "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".
  • Christopher Moore:
  • The full original German title of Momo by Michael Ende is Momo, oder Die seltsame Geschichte von den Zeit-Dieben und von dem Kind, das den Menschen die gestohlene Zeit zurückbrachte.
  • 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.
  • "Down with the anarchists! : this is the war-cry raised by President Roosevelt and echoed by the Congress of the United States. Now, then, hear the other side! The anarchists will take the floor. Listen!"
  • Douglas E Winter's Faces Of Fear: Encounters with the Creators of Modern Horror
  • Molly's Game: From Hollywood's Elite to Wall Street's Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker by Molly Bloom. Filmed as just Molly's Game.
  • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
  • Quenta Silmarillion (The History of the Silmarils), together with Ainulindalë (The Music of the Ainur) and Valaquenta (Account of the Valar), To which is appended Akallabêth (The Downfall of Númenor) and Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
  • The Encyclopaedia or reasoned dictionary of Sciences, Arts and Trades. By a society of literary people.
  • Backstabbed in a Backwater Dungeon: My Trusted Companions Tried to Kill Me, but Thanks to the Gift of an Unlimited Gacha I Got Lvl 9999 Friends and Am Out for Revenge on My Former Party Members and the World. The title has 5 words; the subtitle has 34.
  • When it comes to translating Light Novels with long titles that spell out their premise, sometimes this trope is used in conjunction with Officially Shortened Title and Portmanteau Series Nickname. The portmanteau becomes the short title, while the full translation of the series title becomes the long subtitle. Examples include Shimoneta: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn't Exist, KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World! and Bofuri: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense..
  • Modern Villainess: It's Not Easy Building a Corporate Empire Before the Crash: 2-word title, 10-word subtitle. Most of the subtitle does not exist in the original title, but it's here to clarify this is a business thriller as well as a "Reborn as Villainess" Story.
  • Time to Think: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Tavistock's Gender Service for Children
  • Villainess Level 99: I May Be the Hidden Boss but I'm Not the Demon Lord: The title has 3 words, the subtitle has 13.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street: Stock Market Millionaire at 26, Federal Convict at 36, I Partied like a Rock Star, Lived like a King, and Barely Survived My Rise and Fall as an American Entrepreneurial Icon. Understandably, most people (and the movie adaptation) just call it The Wolf of Wall Street.
  • The 2023 film Killers of the Flower Moon omits the subtitle of the 2017 nonfiction book on which it was based: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.
  • The 2022 book Out of the Blue, a biography of former British Prime Minister Liz Truss, had three subtitles that fit this trope:
    • The subtitle was first announced as The Inside Story of Liz Truss and Her Astonishing Rise to Power shortly after she took office in September 2002, with a planned publication date that December.
    • The word "Astonishing" was replaced by "Explosive" amid the October 2022 government crisis.
    • When Truss announced her resignation on 20 October, the authors rewrote parts of the book and added a chapter to the end. The subtitle was changed to the final version, The Inside Story of the Unexpected Rise and Rapid Fall of Liz Truss, and the publication date was moved up to 1 November for the ebook version and 24 November for the print and audio versions.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Peter Kay's talent show spoof "Britain's Got the Pop Factor… and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice".
  • The Daily Show:
    • Discussed Trope as they interview authors of Non-Fiction books, remarking on the phenomenon of political polemics from the 2000s having titles in the form of Liars and Scumbags: How Person X Ripped Off the Banks, Toppled the Government, and Changed the World.
    • Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race.note 

  • 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:
    • Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales Of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside The Spookshow International
    • Hellbilly Deluxe 2: Noble Jackals, Penny Dreadfuls and the Systematic Dehumanization of Cool
  • The Kinks's Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)
  • Kaikhosru Sorabji's "Villa Tasca: Mezzogiorno siciliano—Evocazione nostalgica e memoria tanta cara e preziosa del giardino meraviglioso, splendido, tropicale" (Translation: "Villa Tasca: Sicilian Noontime—Nostalgic Evocation and Very Dear and Precious Recollection of the Marvellous and Splendid Tropical Garden")
  • All the tracks on Steeleye Span's Wintersmith Concept Album have this, such as "The Making of a Man: The Truth That Lies at The Heart of This Rhyme is the Wintersmith's Undoing". The subtitles aren't listed on the back of the CD sleeve, but they appear in the lyrics booklet and on the MP3 track listings.
  • PM Dawn's The Bliss Album...? (Vibrations of Love and Anger and the Ponderance of Life and Existence)
  • The Flaming Lips' "My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion (The Inner Life as Blazing Shield of Defiance and Optimism as Celestial Spear of Action)".
  • Faces' "You Can Make Me Dance, Sing or Anything (Even Take the Dog for a Walk, Mend a Fuse, Fold Away the Ironing Board, or Any Other Domestic Shortcomings)"
  • Fall Out Boy's "The World's Not Waiting (For Five Tired Boys in a Broken Down Van)".
  • Yoko Ono's "Don't Worry, Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking for a Hand in the Snow)".
  • Elton John's "Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long, Long Time)".

    Tabletop Games 
  • The earliest known wargame, published by H. G. Wells in 1913, has the full title of Little Wars; a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys' games and books.
  • Leder Games seems particularly enamored with four-letter main titles followed by elaborate multi-word subtitles, having released Vast: The Crystal Caverns (2016), Root: A Game of Woodland Might and Right (2018), and Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile (2021).

  • Tsukipro gives us:
    • School Revolution: Hello Kamisama, Boku wa Koko ni iru! (School Revolution: Hello God, Here I Am!)
    • Ura-Zanshin: Children are sometimes ruthless and cruel.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels