Poetry Surrounds Us

Old Hardback Books

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
What do these titles have in common? They and many other books take their titles from lines of poetry.
Of Mice and Men is from “To A Mouse” by Robert Burns
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
(usually translated as Often go awry) 
The Fault in Our Stars refers to:
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
From The Life and Death of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare Act1 Scene 2
No Country for Old Men is from the first line of “Sailing to Byzantium” by W. B. Yeats
“That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees”
Many books take their titles from poetry, or from biblical quotations or from the works of William Shakespeare. For a partial list check out Wikipedia’s List of book titles taken from literature. They keep a separate list for Shakespeare titles: List of titles of works taken from Shakespeare. Or check out this list from Goodreads: Titles based on lines of Poetry or Plays.

Whether the book author was fond of the chosen poem referred to, or just clever in linking the book to the poem, or the poet wrote such a good phrase  that just  rolls off the tongue — we remember and savor the words and repeat them even when the meaning has changed.

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