Subtitle (titling)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

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.