Weird, real titles of 19th century novels


1 Like

These are fantastic!

I think Christopher Moore is a modern author that has some fantastic and fun book titles, such as:


and, my favorite:


I can highly recommend: Edmund: A Butler’s Tale.

A huge, roller coaster of a novel in four hundred sizzling chapters. A
searing indictment of domestic servitude in the eighteenth century, with some hot gypsies thrown in.


Every title has the word “or.” Today we are cooler, we put a colon in every title.

1 Like

But those are 18th century novels, not 19th. Look at the dates.

1 Like

Or the title of the blog post linked to. Or its URL.

(Though it’s actually a mix of late-18th & early-19th century. The referenced works at the bottom suggest 1770 to 1830.)

“Amorous Tales Of The Chaste Loves Of Peter The Long”

Let me guess. Was he there to fix the telegraph?


I guess the tradition of using too many fonts/sizes didn’t originate with Apple and WYSIWYG.

At the annual Frankfurt bookfair they hold the “Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year.” Started in 1978, has once or twice caused some controversy, but mainly works very well. The titles are real. And sometimes very funny.
1978 *Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice" published by the University of Tokyo Press.
1979: “The Madam as Entrepreneur: Career Management in House Prostitution” by Barbara Sherman Heyl.
Then there was a not-so-good period until 1983. That was “Unsolved Problems of Modern Theory of Lengthwise Rolling.” Yes, yes, it was about steel rolling as a manufacturing process but not a bad title.
1984 had some style: “The Book of Marmalade: Its Antecedents, Its History, and Its Role in the World Today.” OK, but not great.
1985 was better: “Natural Bust Enlargement with Total Power: How to Increase the Other 90% of Your Mind to Increase the Size of Your Breasts.”
1986 saw the superb title: “Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality”. But I was against it getting the award as it was a book of humour. No award in the following year and then a dull patch. In 1999 the award hit its stride with the truly magnificent and deadly serious: “How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art.”
1990 kept up the standard with “Lesbian Sadomasochism Safety Manual: a guide to safe but kinky sex.” Another dull period then in 1996 we got “Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers.”
1997 kept up the good work with The Joy of Sex: Pocket Edition.
1999 there was controversy. Hailed as winner was “Male Genitalia of Then a Butterflies of the Balkan Peninsula, with a Checklist,” But it was found that it had been set up specially to win and the prize was withdrawn.
Then another dry patch. 2005 was a vintage year with “People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It.” 2006 brought “The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification.”
2007 was “If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs.”
It was strangely written by a man for women. 2008 we had controversy again but 2009 brought “Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes.”
2010 brought can’t fail title “Managing a Dental Practice: The Genghis Khan Way.” 2011 was a Thai cook book with the unfortunate title of “Cooking with Poo.” 2012 recognized there might be fairies at the bottom of your garden and provided “Goblin-proofing One’s Chicken Coop.”
2013 was a seriously useful title: How to Poo on a Date: The Lovers’ Guide to Toilet Etiquette.
And what will this year’s fair bring?. We will have to wait until October to find out.
Gareth Powell

The two title pages on the BoingBoing page reference 1713 and 1719 - hardly late 18th century.

1 Like

They say the first person who will see the article headed “Weird, real names of 20th century musical associations” has already been born.

Yep, no one’s ever done this during the 20th century, eh?

The Internet Archive has digitized copies of many of these books, including Memoirs of an Old Wig.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.