This is the title page of “The Anatomy Of Melancholy”, one of Gert’s father’s favourite books. Why don’t we see these lovely long titles any more?
The full title of Robinson Crusoe is
Robinson Crusoe : 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 Pyrates.
And wouldn’t you have to drop everything and rush off to read
The Affecting History Of Two Young Gentlewomen, Who Were Ruined By Their Excessive Attachment To The Amusements Of The Town. To Which Are Added, Many Practical Notes, By Dr. Typo.
Argal; Or The Silver Devil, Being The Adventures Of An Evil Spirit, Comprising A Series Of Interesting Anecdotes, With Which The Demon Became Acquainted, During His Confinement In The Metalline Substance To Which He Was Condemned. Related By Himself.
Our very own Professor Skinner, in The 1001 Nights of Iarcus Oralto, has a book called Ramifications of the Intensely Abrupt, a Treatise on the Pronoun Problem, together with helpful Charts, Diagrams and Exhortations to the Linguistically Underprivileged.
In contrast, the title of one of our favourite books is positively terse:
Augustus Carp, Esq., By Himself: Being the Autobiography of a Really Good Man.
Is the best modern writers can do A Heartbreaking Story of Staggering Genius or The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night Time, or even, Crane Mansions: a novel about the redeeming power of cake?