Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Blogular Post-It

Christopher Hitchens once described one of those dinner parties that you’d really only want to attend if you hadn’t been invited:

...somebody was complaining not just about the epic badness of the novels of Robert Ludlum but also about the badness of their titles. (You know the sort of pretentiousness: The Bourne Supremacy, The Aquitaine Progression, The Ludlum Impersonation, and so forth.) Then it happily occurred to another guest to wonder aloud what a Shakespeare play might be called if named in the Ludlum manner. At which point Salman Rushdie perked up and started to sniff the air like a retriever. “O.K. then, Salman, what would Hamlet’s title be if submitted to the Ludlum treatment?” “The Elsinore Vacillation,” he replied – and I find I must stress this – in no more time than I have given you. Think it was a fluke? Macbeth? “The Dunsinane Reforestation.” To persist and to come up with The Rialto Sanction and The Kerchief Implication was the work of not too many more moments.

Which is clearly a challenge to the rest of us: Shakespeare plays, or other classics, in whatever medium, relabelled as if written by the King of Epic Badness. Coleridge’s Kubla Khan could be The Mongoloid Truncation; and any of Thomas Hardy’s novels might qualify as The Dorset Mishap. Paradise Lost is inevitably The Eden Project. Your turn; and double points if, as in the case of Rushdie’s later efforts, you’re confident enough not to tell us what the original work is.

13 comments:

Chris said...

What a question! How about 'The Canine Extraction' for 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'? Not that it really requires a worse title.

Evsie said...

The Urchin Redemption (Oliver Twist)

Rebellion Within (almost any Le Carre novel)

Death in an attic (The Diary of Anne Frank)

dh said...

OK I've got one. The Cetacean Elimination.....Moby Dick.

M.A.Peel said...

These are all on my bookshelf:

The Marchmain Debacle

The San Fermin Triangle

Assignation: Milan

(Not sure if they're obvious, but let's make it a game)

Tim Footman said...

Ooh these are good. I'm guessing Hemingway for the second one, Mrs Peel, but the last has me stumped.

From Facebook, Nicholas Pegg offers:

The Shandy Digression by Laurence Sterne.

The Havisham Misunderstanding by Charles Dickens.

The Quested Molestation by E.M. Forster

The Beelzebub Pubescence by William Golding

blackwatertown said...

The Jacobean Fortuitude

The Astral Perambulation.

(not sure about that second one, the first is my favourite book)

M.A.Peel said...

Yeah, the third was a stretch for another Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms.

blackwatertown, please give hints.

If I may borrow your word, then we can have

The Fleming Fortitude

(staying with American lit, but not world-class)

Tim Footman said...

BWT: with you on the first (Amis Sr); is the second Douglas Adams?

And Mrs Peel has the better of me once again.

Meanwhile, from Twitter, Archie_V offers Cervantes' The Castile Perambulation and Kafka's The Arthropod Conversion.

M.A.Peel said...

Tim, Red Badge of Courage (Henry Fleming) by Stephen Crane. Is this world lit, or just for American 7th grade English?

Tim Footman said...

Don't think Crane's really crossed the Atlantic to the extent than, say, Mark Twain did. I suspect there's a general perception that US fiction didn't really catch up with Europe until Fitzgerald and Hemingway. And by the 60s, of course, Updike and Roth et al were way ahead.

blackwatertown said...

Tim has got it (as always)
Lucky Jim - Kingsley Amis
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

But M A Peel - you didn't steal my fortuitude

But speaking of world litereature:
The Accra Disintegration
The Unlachcrymose Infant

(and your clue is - one's east, the other's west)

Ross said...

The Jude Transluscence
The Moribund Avian Mimicry
The Grain Repository
The Vital Sincerity

Tim Footman said...

Now I'm confused, BWT. I'd guess Chinua Achebe for the first, but isn't he Nigerian?

Nice one Ross; the last one took me a good few hours.