Careful readers of this space will remember Portmantomes, a great literary innovation designed to economize on reading time by combining two books into one, the more disparate the better. The concept was pioneered by Chronogram, whose readers came up with such not-to-be missed volumes as:
Cat on a Hot Tin Drum
Nineteen-eighty-four Whom the Bell Tolls
Horton Hears a Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf
The Jungle Book of Mormon
I Sing the Body Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
and of course
The Devil and Daniel Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.
I was rather proud of myself for having come up with:
The American Way of Death in the Afternoon
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul on Ice
and that immortal children’s whaling story,
Moby-Dick and Jane.
Then RBC readers took the bit between their teeth. Bernard Yomtov proposed:
Huckleberry Finnegan’s Wake
which I think you will agree was pretty spectacular.
But three readers who wish their names withheld truly outdid themselves, producing:
The Art of War and Peace
Go Ask Alice in Wonderland
The Bell Jarhead
On the Road Less Traveled
A Farewell to Arms and The Man
The Last Don Quixote
Return of the Native Son
Gone With the Wind in the Willows
Guns, Germs, and Steel Magnolias
On the Road to Perdition
Stuart Little Women
The Mayor of Casterbridge Over the River Kwai
The Caine Mutiny on the Bounty
Northwest Passage to India
The Once and Future King Leopold’s Ghosts
The Red and the Black Boy
Slaughterhouse-Five People You Meet in Heaven
Dandelion Winesburg, Ohio
Independence Day Into Night
The Tell-tale Heart of Darkness
and that pornoecclesiological classic:
The Tulip and the Pope: A Nun’s Story of O
My thanks to all the players, who win free lifetime subscriptions to the RBC. The way I look at it, between now and January 20, 2008 we’re going to need all the comic relief we can get .
11 thoughts on “More Portmatomes”
"On the Road to Perdition"
Actually, Max Allen Collins beat you to the punch
I like the sundry and various titles you've come up with (which I will not put).
Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle had a contest much like this for movie titles. My favorite was Seven Brides for Seven Samurai; Dances with White Fang is OK too.
I remember several of Caen's other entries (which, by the way, were complete with plot descriptions):
"A Star is Born Free"
"Rachel Rachel Tora Tora Tora Curtain"
and, last but definitely not least:
"Run Silent, Run Deep Throat" (in which a large submarine is swallowed by a randy whale named Linda).
Love the titles. But this is Jeopardy before-and-after category if I've ever seen it.
I believe that "Seven Brides for Seven Samurai" and "Dances with White Fang" do not qualify because part of the first title in each is shortened.
Scratch "part of" in the preceding post; I meant that the first title in each is shortened; sorry.
Even for The Unbearable Lightness of Being The Bone People?
The titles have gone about as far as they can. I propose a contest to actually write the opening paragraph of Huckleberry Finneagan's Wake.
is mixing a book and a song permitted?
Tom Sawyer Blues
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