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The High-Bouncing Lover or 'The Great Gatsby'?

By Stacy Conradt, Mental Floss
Would you have read F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic if it had been called The High-Bouncing Love?
Would you have read F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic if it had been called The High-Bouncing Love?
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald had many options for titles, but chose "The Great Gatsby"
  • "1984" was called The Last Man in Europe before George Orwell had to change it
  • Jane Austen originally called "Price and Prejudice" by another name: First Impressions

(Mental Floss) -- Remember when your high school summer reading list included "Atticus," "Fiesta," and "The Last Man in Europe?" You will once you see what these books were renamed before they hit bookshelves.

1. F. Scott Fitzgerald went through quite a few titles for his most well-known book before deciding on "The Great Gatsby." If he hadn't arrived at that title, high school kids would be pondering the themes of Trimalchio in West Egg; Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires; On the Road to West Egg; Under the Red, White, and Blue; Gold-Hatted Gatsby; and The High-Bouncing Lover.

2. George Orwell's publisher didn't feel the title to Orwell's novel The Last Man in Europe was terribly commercial and recommended using the other title he had been kicking around -- "1984."

3. Before it was "Atlas Shrugged," it was The Strike, which is how Ayn Rand referred to her magnum opus for quite some time. In 1956, a year before the book was released, she decided the title gave away too much plot detail. Her husband suggested "Atlas Shrugged" and it stuck.

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4. The title of Bram Stoker's famous Gothic novel sounded more like a spoof before he landed on "Dracula" -- one of the names Stoker considered was The Dead Un-Dead.

5. Ernest Hemingway's original title for "The Sun Also Rises" was used for foreign-language editions -- Fiesta. He changed the American English version to "The Sun Also Rises" at the behest of his publisher.

6. It's because of Frank Sinatra that we use the phrase "Catch-22" today. Well, sort of. According to some sources, author Joseph Heller tried out Catch-11, but because the original "Ocean's Eleven" movie was newly in theaters, it was scrapped to avoid confusion. He also wanted Catch-18, but, again, a recent publication made him switch titles to avoid confusion: Leon Uris' Mila 18. He finally settled on 22.

7. "To Kill a Mockingbird" was simply Atticus before Harper Lee decided the title focused too narrowly on one character.

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8. An apt precursor to the "Pride and Prejudice" title Jane Austen finally decided on: First Impressions.

9. Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? Secretly, apparently. Mistress Mary, taken from the classic nursery rhyme, was the working title for Frances Hodgson Burnett's "The Secret Garden."

10. John Steinbeck was an amazing writer, to be sure, but book titles might not have been his thing. Before he came across Robert Burns' poem To a Mouse, "Of Mice and Men" was going to be called Something That Happened.

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