Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stumped Bookworm

I talked to my sister-in-law a couple of nights ago, and she had a question that stumped me: What is the literary term for that part of a novel where the line that contains the title of the novel appears? Like the part of To Kill A Mockingbird where Atticus lectures Jem on the use of his new shotgun saying he can shoot all the blue jays (?) he wants, but it's a sin to kill a mockingbird... Or the part of Gone With The Wind where Scarlett has fled Atlanta and is trying to get home to Tara and her mother and she wonders if Tara is still standing, or is it gone with the wind that has swept through Georgia...

I love it when I find the title phrase in novels, but I didn't know there was a specific literary term attached to it. Sister-in-law is positive that such a term exists. What say you, O Book Bloggers?

14 comments:

bkclubcare said...

how fun! I have no idea. and it is so hard to search for terms in google, isn't it.

J.Danger said...

I did not know that! geesh- I wonder what it is called

Jeane said...

I didn't know there was a term for this but I'm very curious what it is so I'll check back and see if anyone comes up with the answer.

Bookfool said...

We're not very helpful, are we? I didn't even know there was a term. There's a term for the title song on an album, but I don't know that, either. Unless it's "title song". No, that doesn't sound right. Heck. I think I'll go get some air.

Bookfool said...

Try here:

http://www.ioba.org/terms.html

I'm too weary to read all those terms but maybe it's in there, somewhere. I remember the album term for the song that gives the album its name is the "title cut". Still not helpful.

raidergirl3 said...

I'm here looking to see if you found out the term, because, it would be cool to know.

Any luck yet? Keep us informed.

Bybee said...

Hi Everybody,
I'm not sure that there is a specific literary term, but SIL was so sure. Now that most of you are weighing in, I'm beginning to wonder if she dreamed it, or if she's mixing it up with "title cut" from albums and music.

raidergirl3 said...

if there isn't a word we will have to come up with one, because there should be. I love that moment when the title is in the book and I find it.
contest anyone?

Tara said...

No idea! I was hoping someone else knew!

M said...

Wow, that's a really interesting question. I'm going to ask the groups of English majors that I belong to. Will report back with the results.

SFP said...

I haven't a clue, but I do love that moment in a novel when you discover what the title means.

I'm reading Wally Lamb right now and he likes to use the title as the last line in the book. The only other instance of that that I can remember is Fred Chappell's I Am One of You Forever.

M said...

The English majors couldn't think of an actual literary term, but some of their suggestions were:

namesake
titular phrase
eponymous phrase
title drop

See here for the discussion. :)

jessi said...

Interesting! I'm an English major and a Literature teacher, and I don't think I've ever heard of such a word. I'm curious to find out if it does, though...
I like "title drop." It makes me smile. :)

Marg said...

I want to know now! I have asked some author and other knowledgeable types if they know!