The Importance of the Literary Title and its Implications for Translation Theory


Benjamin Schaper


This essay seeks to give a detailed examination of the notion of the title and its implications for the translation of titles into foreign languages. Thereby, the term “title” shall be analysed exclusively in the context of fictional works within different genres. I will begin with a theoretical analysis of the effects that an original title has on the text that it precedes, which will be based on Gerard Genette’s chapter on titles in his influential treatise Seuils (Paratexts. Thresholds of Interpretation). In addition, Genette’s thoughts on titles shall be complemented by and contrasted to those of David Lodge and Umberto Eco as they incorporate the positions of both the literary critics and the author of fiction. Ultimately, this essay aims to discuss the findings on the notion of the title with the help of translation theory, especially from Umberto Eco.