31 October 2007

On Titles and Such

I’ve changed the title of the blog since, as a friend put it, I wasn’t really “examining much whyness”. The current title comes from Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Criticism, albeit slightly distorted to suit the purpose. (Next person to mention the name “Elvis” dies.)

And speaking of titles, why are posts (or any other mode of writing) expected to have titles? Giving something any particular title pre-supposes the implication of a central concern of that piece of writing. This ignores other possibly relevant issues within that text. It would, for example, be foolish to argue that Pride and Prejudice is only about qualities of pride and prejudice; or that Hamlet is about this young prince with a dilemma.

And yet, titles seem to be indispensable in order to know what is being talked about. I shudder to think how a paper on “that book by that Hosseini guy” would be graded. Or how this post would be distinguished from that one. Hmmm...

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