Dynamics in Development of the Title as a Paratextual Element (Based on German Travel Literature of 18th and 19th Century)

This paper reviews the title complexes of the title pages in German travel literature of the 18th and 19th century from the viewpoint of paratextuality theory by G. Genette and theory of the strong position by I. V. Arnold. Structural dynamics of the title development is most apparent in its steady size reduction. Extremely complicated titles are typical for the first half of the 18th century. They look like annotated content of the whole book rather than its laconic title (up to 20 title lines or up to 100 words and more). By the end of the 19th century the title complex included only the name of an author (or a publisher) and the actual short title with a toponym denoting the place of the destination. The title declaration has an increasingly differentiated character, forming reader’s specific expectations even before reading the book. Along with the traditional Reise / Reisebeschreibung (travel / travel description), the new genre/forms are seen: Beyträge (papers), Bericht (report), Briefe (letters), Darstellungen (descriptions), Erinnerungen (memoirs), Gemälde (pictures) and Nachrichten (news). Certainly, informative function of the title dominates in travel literature, but the occurrence of other functions can also be observed. Thus, attractive function emerges in the 18th century, it manifests in drawing readership’s attention by the promising title. Expressive-appellative function is brought to light in the 19th century and often is conveyed by an epigraph revealing the author’s position and psychologically preparing the reader for the content. Both the author and the publisher may be the creators of a title.


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