Six Degrees of Separation – from Pride & Prejudice to The Name of the Rose

It is time for another Six Degrees of Separation post, which I first saw on Books are My Favourite and Best. I propose that there are six links connecting the above books, follow me:

Pride & Prejudice is my favourite novel by Jane Austen, but did you know that it was originally titled First Impressions? Another classic book which changed its title before publication is The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald seriously considered naming his book Trimalchio in West Egg, among other titles. 

In reality Trimalchio was a character in the 1st century AD Roman fiction Satyricon by Petronius, who, like Gatsby, allegedly got to the top by employing rather obscurely dishonest means. Another dishonest character who tried to do just that at the beginning of the story is Sue Trinder from Sarah Waters’ acclaimed novel FingersmithThis is a novel whose story is told through the perspectives of two different people, and another book that uses the multiple perspectives’ device is Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. 

Cloud Atlas is composed of different stories, but one predominant theme is post-apocalyptic future. We follow the highly imaginative unfolding of events, just like in Jose Saramago’s novel Blindness, whose premise points to the permeating uncertainty connected to possible future events. In this story, there is an unexplained mass epidemic of blindness befalling the population, leading to some form of societal chaos. The same author – Jose Saramago – also penned his mentally-stimulating non-fiction book The Notebook, which, although goes deep into politics, can prove to be a real find for the fans of Saramago.

The preface to The Notebook is written by no other than a writer-philosopher Umberto Eco, the author of the novel The Name of the Rose. Incidentally, we arrive to where we started because The Name of the Rose also had a rocky start when it came to choosing the title. Rumours have it the title was chosen almost by chance, while others point to a much deeper meaning connected to one idea that it is futile to talk about a rose and that only the name exists in the tricky philosophy of nominalism.  

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7 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – from Pride & Prejudice to The Name of the Rose

    1. Isn’t it interesting to discover this publishing process? We, readers, are only presented with the finished product and the final title, and we may not even realise how close some titles got to being final and what last-minute revisions were made. Sometimes these play an important part how a book is first received.

      Liked by 1 person

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