The Senior Citizen and the Sea

As part of my day job, I’m often called upon to recast gender-specific language into gender-neutral language. (Hey, it’s not my idea.) This got me to thinking this Labor Day weekend, which I plan to spend throwing words like “he” or “she” around with mad abandon, what if book titles for historical fiction had to be converted accordingly?

The Traitor’s Spouse by you-know-who

The Monarch’s Pleasure by Norah Lofts

Youngster With a Pearl Earring
by Tracy Chevalier

The Borgia Newlywed by Jeanne Kalogridis

The Other Boleyn Kid by Philippa Gregory

The Constant Offspring of a Ruler by Philippa Gregory

In the Company of the Member of the Demi-Monde by Sarah Dunant

The Bronze Horseperson by Paullina Simons

The Perfect Royal Main Squeeze by Diane Haeger

But if you want to see some strange titles that library patrons come up with, head over to Sarah’s blog!

4 thoughts on “The Senior Citizen and the Sea”

  1. I love the Perfect Royal Main Squeeze! It would be interesting to see a whole book written in this way. It would be maddening I’m sure!

  2. Hey, Susan, just wondering how far this gender-neutral thing might go.
    ‘The Monarch’s Pheasant’ by N. Lofts: easy one. But, will it be ‘Youngster With A Pearl Earing’ by P.C. (chevalier not allowed) or ‘Youngster With A Pearl Earing’ by P.PersonWhoHasServedOwnSovereign: this could get very messy.

  3. Is ‘courtesan’ always female by definition? Just wondering if it can also include men, in which case the Sarah Dunant title might be one of the few to escape unscathed!
    By the way, curiously enough, all Sharon Penman’s novels that I can think of have gender-neutral titles. Do you suppose she might be on to something?

  4. Susan Higginbotham

    I think “courtesan” evolved from a previous meaning of “court lady” to acquire its present meaning. So I don’t think Dunant could pass the gender neutral test.

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