A photo of Chris Martin and Shakespeare.

15 Classical Book Titles that Could Have Been Something Else Entirely

Judging a book by its cover is bad, but judging it by its title is even worse. Nevertheless, most of us have probably done this at some point. In short: titles matter A LOT. They always influence which works we choose to read, so picking the most suitable is a huge deal for authors. The name of the book should not only cover the main issues addressed, but also deliver an overall feeling that can be easily picked up by readers. Writers often go through several drafts before the official publication of their phenomenal works, and it is common for books to have alternative titles that sounded very differently.


Are you familiar with the titles of some of these most famous literary classics? Some of them will better reveal the book’s main concept, but some are just plain cringe-worthy.


1. George Orwell’s 1984 was originally named The Last Man in Europe.


Since that’s pretty much how Winston felt throughout the book.




2.Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita was originally titled The Kingdom By the Sea.




3. Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises was going to be called Fiesta.




4. Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace had been called All’s Well That Ends Well.




5. Before settling on Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell had thought of names such as Tomorrow Is Another Day, Not In Our Stars, Tote the Weary Load, and Bugles Sang True.




6. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby had original names such as Gatsby, Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires, Trimalchio, Trimalchio in West Egg, On the Road to West Egg, Under the Red, White and Blue, Gold-Hatted Gatsby and The High-Bouncing Lover.


We know, it’s awful.




7. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings had been named The War of the Rings.




8. Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead was originally named Second-Hand Lives.




9. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was just going to be called Atticus.




10. To begin with, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men was called Something That Happened.




11. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice could have been named First Impressions.




12. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden was initially called Mistress Mary.




13. Lewis Carroll had intended to name his book Alice instead of  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.




14. William Golding’s Lord of the Flies had been called Strangers From Within.




15. William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury could have been published with the name Twilight.


Dodged a bullet on that one, Bill.




Which do you prefer? The original or the classical title we are familiar with now? Let us know in the comments!


All Images Courtesy of Amazon