Thursday, January 02, 2014

23 British Authors Whose Books Were Renamed for American Readers


Untitled document

Sometimes, messages can get lost in translation (or in the Pond). This is perhaps never more true than in the world of literature, where books - especially those that sell internationally - contain cultural elements or word choices with which some readers may not be familiar. In these not-so-rare instances, publishers will sometimes rework a title, or even edit the main body of the book, in order to appeal to a particular country’s readership.

This, of course, is true of both Britain and the United States, who - given their shared language - have a generally broad admiration for the other’s literary works.

As you will see from the list below, there are one or two British authors whose works were frequently retitled for American readers, most notably those of Agatha Christie and P. G. Wodehouse (famous for the Jeeves and Wooster novels). In many instances, it is difficult to see why such alterations were made, while in the case of titles such as Christie’s Ten Little Niggers, it is starkly obvious. 

For other books, however, such as Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights (re-titled in the U.S. as The Golden Compass), alterations can be made based on a publisher’s mere interpretation of the front cover (Knof, the U.S. publisher of The Golden Compass, mistakenly thought their new title successfully referred to Lyra’s alethiometer. Even after Pullman had changed the trilogy name to His Dark Materials, Knof - so taken by the name - opted to leave The Golden Compass as the name of the first book).

Sometimes, and this is the case with Ted Hughes’ The Iron Man (retitled as The Iron Giant in the United States), books are renamed to avoid potential copyright infringement or general confusion between existing titles of the same name (Iron Man is, of course, a prominent member of the Marvel Universe).

In all there are hundreds of books - including the 83 listed below - that were renamed for an American readership. From Roald Dahl to J. K. Rowling, Aldous Huxley to Stephen Fry, here are 23 British authors whose books were retitled for American readers.

AUTHOR

UK TITLE

US TITLE

AGATHA CHRISTIE

4.50 from Paddington

What Mrs. MacGillicuddy Saw! as well as Murder, She Said

AGATHA CHRISTIE

After the Funeral

Funerals are Fatal

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Death in the Clouds

Death in the Air

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Destination Unknown

So Many Steps to Death

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Dumb Witness

Poirot Loses a Client

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Five Little Pigs

Murder in Retrospect

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Hickory Dickory Dock

Hickory Dickory Death

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

Murder for Christmas, as well as A Holiday for Murder

AGATHA CHRISTIE

The Hollow

Murder After Hours

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Lord Edgeware Dies

Thirteen at Dinner

AGATHA CHRISTIE

The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side

The Mirror Crack'd

AGATHA CHRISTIE

The Moving Finger

The Case of the Moving Finger

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Mrs McGinty's Dead

Blood Will Tell

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Murder is Easy

Easy to Kill

AGATHA CHRISTIE

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

An Overdose of Death as well as The Patriotic Murders.

AGATHA CHRISTIE

The Sittaford Mystery

The Murder at Hazelmoor

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Sparkling Cyanide

Remembered Death

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Taken at the Flood

There is a Tide

AGATHA CHRISTIE

They Do It With Mirrors

Murder With Mirrors

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Three Act Tragedy

Murder in Three Acts

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Why Didn't They Ask Evans?

The Boomerang Clue

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder in the Calais Coach

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Ten Little Niggers

And Then There Were None

ALDOUS HUXLEY

Little Mexican

Young Archimedes

ANGELA CARTER

The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman

The War of Dreams

ANGELA CARTER

Shadow Dance

Honeybuzzard

ANNE FINE

Madame Doubtfire

Alias Madame Doubtfire

ANNE FINE

The More the Merrier

The True Story of Winter

DIANA WYNNE-JONES

Black Maria

Aunt Maria

DIANA WYNNE-JONES

Wilkins' Tooth

Witch's Business

ENID BLYTON

The Island of Adventure

Mystery Island

GRAHAM GREENE

Stamboul Train

Orient Express

IAN SERRAILLIER

The Silver Sword

Escape from Warsaw

J.K. ROWLING

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

JENNY NIMMO

The Blue Boa

Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy

JENNY NIMMO

The Castle of Mirrors

Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors

JENNY NIMMO

Charlie Bone and the Shadow of Badlock

Charlie Bone and the Shadow

JENNY NIMMO

Charlie Bone and the Wilderness Wolf

Charlie Bone and the Beast

JENNY NIMMO

Emlyn's Moon

Orchard of the Crescent Moon

JENNY NIMMO

The Time Twister

Charlie Bone and the Time Twister

JOHN GARDNER

COLD

Cold Fall

LAURIE LEE

Cider With Rosie

Edge of Da

LEN DEIGHTON

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Spy

Catch a Falling Spy

MARTIN HANDFORD

Where's Wally?

Where's Waldo?

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Over Seventy

America, I Like You

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Performing Flea

Author! Author!

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Blandings Castle and Elsewhere

Blandings Castle

P.G. WODEHOUSE

The Clicking of Cuthbert

Golf Without Tears

P.G. WODEHOUSE

The Heart of a Goof

Divots

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Lord Emsworth and Others

Crime Wave at Blandings

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Ukridge

He Rather Enjoyed It

P.G. WODEHOUSE

The Adventures of Sally

Mostly Sally

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Aunts Aren't Gentlemen

The Cat-nappers

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Barmy in Wonderland

Angel Cake

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Company for Henry

The Purloined Paperweight

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Frozen Assets

Biffen's Millions

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Galahad at Blandings

The Brinkmanship of Galahad Threepwood

P.G. WODEHOUSE

A Gentleman of Leisure

The Intrusion of Jimmy

P.G. WODEHOUSE

The Girl on the Boat

Three Men and a Maid

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Ice in the Bedroom

The Ice in the Bedroom

P.G. WODEHOUSE

The Inimitable Jeeves

Jeeves

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit

Bertie Wooster Sees It Through

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Jeeves in the Offing

How Right You Are, Jeeves

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Jill the Reckless

The Little Warrior

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Much Obliged, Jeeves

Jeeves and the Tie That Binds

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Pearls, Girls and Monty Bodkin

The Plot That Thickened

P.G. WODEHOUSE

A Pelican at Blandings

No Nudes is Good Nudes

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Right Ho, Jeeves

Brinkley Manor

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Ring for Jeeves

The Return of Jeeves

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Sam the Sudden

Sam in the Suburbs

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Something Fishy

The Butler Did It

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Something Fresh

Something New

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Summer Lightning

Fish Preferred

P.G. WODEHOUSE

The Coming of Bill

Their Mutual Child

P.G. WODEHOUSE

Joy in the Morning

Jeeves in the Morning

PETER GEORGE

Two Hours to Doom

Red Alert

PHILIP ARDAGH

Awful End

A House Called Awful End

PHILIP PULLMAN

Northern Lights

The Golden Compass

ROALD DAHL

The Great Automatic Grammatizator

The Umbrella Man and Other Stories

ROBERT GRAVES

The Golden Fleece

Hercules, My Shipmate

DICK KING-SMITH

Daggie Dogfoot

Pigs Might Fly

DICK KING-SMITH

The Sheep-Pig

Babe The Gallant Pig

STEPHEN FRY

The Stars' Tennis Balls

Revenge

TED HUGHES

The Iron Man

The Iron Giant


Laurence is a British expat living in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a contributor for BBC America and writes a weekly column for Anglotopia. Having graduated from Lancaster University with a degree in English Language and Creative Writing, Laurence runs this blog, Lost In The Pond, charting the endless cultural and linguistic differences between Britain and The United States. 

Please follow Laurence by clicking on any of the icons below.


1 comment:

londonlee said...

Missed one: Jonathan Coe's 'What A Carve Up!' is called 'The Winshaw Legacy' in the States

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...