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In books and other works, a subtitle is an explanatory or alternate title. For example, Mary Shelley used a subtitle to give her most famous novel, Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus, an alternate title to give a hint of the theme. In library cataloging the subtitle does not include an alternate title which is defined as part of the title proper; e.g. "One Good Turn" (title proper) "A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw" (subtitle); "Twelfth Night, or What You Will" (title proper).
There are at least eight books in English that carry the subtitle Virtue Rewarded. Subtitles for plays were fashionable in the Elizabethan era; William Shakespeare parodied this vogue by giving Twelfth Night the deliberately uninformative subtitle What You Will, implying that the subtitle can be whatever the audience wants it to be. In printing, subtitles often appear below the title in a less prominent typeface or following the title after a colon.
Some modern publishers choose to forgo subtitles when republishing historical works, such as Shelley's famous story, which is often now sold simply as Frankenstein.
Subtitles are also used to distinguish different installments in a series, instead of or in addition to a number, such as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the second in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, the third in the Mario Kart series, and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the second in the Star Trek series.
- Home: A History of an Idea
- Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland
- One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw
- The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?
- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
- The Century: America's Time
- Kirby: Canvas Curse
- Hasbro Family Game Night 4: The Game Show
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
- PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure
- Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core
- Paper Mario: Sticker Star
- PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond
- Ben 10: Alien Force
- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
- Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance With Death
- The Hobbit, or There And Back Again
- Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
- Tomica Hero: Rescue Fire
- Blood Meridian, or The Evening Redness in the West
- Tomica Hero: Rescue Force
- Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
- Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3: Viva La Fiesta!
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward
- CSI: New York
- Kirby: Right Back at Ya!
- High School Musical 3: Senior Year
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
- Call of Duty: Black Ops II
- Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex
- Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
- Power Rangers: Ninja Storm
- Call of Duty: Black Ops
- Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
- Mario Tennis: Power Tour
- Mario Golf: World Tour
- Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa
- Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
- Pokémon: Black and White
- Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity
- Sonic Adventure 2: Battle
- Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance
- Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 Hours 11 Minutes
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Reflections on the Revolution in France: and on the Proceedings in Certain Societies in London Relative to the Event
- Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
- Wario Land: Shake It!
- Leviathan, or the Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill