Help Me, Victorianists — update

For those who may have missed it over the weekend, I’m offering a prize to the person who helps me find a title for the Victorian book. If you know nineteenth-century British lit, please take a look at that post for details on what I’m after.

A few clarifications, to help refine the hunt:

1) Although “should include a verb” is #3 on the list of priorities, it’s a pretty big #3; that’s pretty much the single unifying characteristic of the series titles so far, as seen from the shopper’s point of view (i.e. before they read the book and find out where it came from). I want something where a person who’s maybe read the other books could see the title and think, “Is that a new Onyx Court book?” So I’m pretty seriously committed to maintaining this pattern unless I absolutely can’t.

2) Please do quote the passage your suggested title comes from, rather than just the phrase itself. The reason for this is that I don’t just need a title; I need an epigraph (the quotes that head up the different sections) from which the title will come, and so I’m also judging whether the passage fits the story or not. I’ve already had at least one suggestion where the title-phrase would be perfect . . . except that the passage it comes from isn’t, no matter how hard I try to convince myself otherwise. And it’s easier for me to judge that if I don’t have to hunt for the source of the phrase.

3) Until you see a post saying “Hey guys, I found a title!,” assume I am still taking suggestions. Feel free to keep sending them in.

4) It did occur to me that there’s one other angle which could work for the end of the book, in terms of epigraph subject matter. It’s a bit more of a spoiler than the last post was, though, in that you can begin to guess where I’m going with the story. So I’ll put it behind a cut again, and if you don’t want to be spoiled for the book, you can just ignore what follows.

raisinfish‘s line “fallen light renew,” from William Blake, is probably the nearest miss I’ve had yet. If the surrounding passage worked better, this would be the title, right now; it has a verb and an interesting noun and it fits with the rest of the Onyx Court titles. But your new hint is that something pointing at renewal/rebirth/etc. could also work.

0 Responses to “Help Me, Victorianists — update”

  1. houseboatonstyx

    George MacDonald? William Morris?

  2. houseboatonstyx

    Jerusalem builded here

    The New Jerusalem

    And did those feet in ancient time
    Walk upon England’s mountains green?
    And was the holy Lamb of God
    On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

    And did the Countenance Divine
    Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
    And was Jerusalem builded here
    Among these dark Satanic Mills?

    Bring me my bow of burning gold!
    Bring me my arrows of desire!
    Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
    Bring me my charriot of fire!

    I will not cease from mental fight,
    Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
    Till we have built Jerusalem
    In England’s green and pleasant land.

  3. pathseeker42

    “Live to be Another”

    •”Ghost of the Future,” he exclaimed, “I fear you more than any spectre I have seen. But as I know your purpose is to do me good, and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was, I am prepared to bear you company, and do it with a thankful heart. Will you not speak to me?”

  4. dungeonwriter

    I hope to see my Pilot face to face
      When I have crossed the bar.

    Crossed the Bar by Tennyson

    —Crossed the Bar

    When can their glory fade?
    O the wild charge they made!
    All the world wonder’d.
    Honor the charge they made!
    –Charge of the Light Brigade

    Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
    Then once by man and angels to be seen,
    In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

    –The Kraken

    I falter where I firmly trod,
    And falling with my weight of cares
    Upon the great world’s altar-stairs
    That slope thro’ darkness up to God,
    I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,
    And gather dust and chaff, and call
    To what I feel is Lord of all,
    And faintly trust the larger hope.

    -Slope Thro’ darkness (In Memoria)

    Let us alone. Time driveth onward fast,
    And in a little while our lips are dumb.
    Let us alone. What is it that will last?
    All things are taken from us, and become
    Portions and parcels of the dreadful past.
    Let us alone. What pleasure can we have
    To war with evil? Is there any peace
    In ever climbing up the climbing wave?
    All things have rest, and ripen toward the grave
    In silence—ripen, fall, and cease:
    Give us long rest or death, dark death, or dreamful ease. (lines 88–98)
    —The Lotos Eaters

  5. raisinfish

    Aw. So close.

    This is quite the puzzle.

  6. stakebait

    I am extremely fond of this whole passage.

    Slow the city grew
    Like coral reef on which the builders die
    Until it stands complete in pain and death
    Great bridges with their coronets of lamps
    Light the black stream beneath rude ocean’s flock
    Ships from all climes are folded in its docks
    And every heart from its great central dome
    To farthest suburb is a darkened stage
    On which Grief walks alone
    A thousand years
    The idle Summer will amuse herself
    Dressing the front where merchants congregate
    And where the mighty war horse snorts in bronze
    With clasping flowers where now the evening
    Rolls gay with life in silence and the dew
    The hamadryad issues from the tree
    Like music from an instrument
    How strange
    When the chill morn was breaking in the east
    Looked the familiar streets
    In pallid squares I stood awe struck like a bewildered soul
    In the great dawn of death
    Each house was Closed gainst the light and slow it filled the
    Unsoiled by smoke unscared by any sound
    It entered trembling rude and haggard lanes
    Where riot but an hour before had brawled
    Himself to rest St Stephen’s golden vane
    Burned in the early beam which glimmered down
    Making the old spire gay
    The swallows woke
    And jerked and twittered in the shining air
    Broad Labour turned and muttered in his sleep
    And the first morning cart began to roll

    Alexander Smith – A Boy’s Poem, City Poems

    Most of my favorite phrases don’t actually have verbs, unfortanately, but there’s Light the black stream?

  7. befaithfulgo

    I immediately thought of this,

    “But were I joined with her,
    Then might we live together as one life,
    And reigning with one will in everything
    Have power on this dark land to lighten it,
    And power on this dead world to make it live.”

    Tennyson, The Coming of Arthur from Idylls of the King

    There are probably other useful bits in Idylls of the King.

  8. ken_schneyer

    Some more Dickens

    Dickens loved and hated London more than almost any other writer of that era, I think, and rebirth and renewal were frequently on his mind.

    So here are a few, and I’ll try to come up with more:

    As The Good Old City Knew:
    He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as the good old City knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough in the good old world. (Christmas Carol, Stave Five)
    When It Was A Young House:
    They were a gloomy suite of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarecely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and have forgotten the way out again. (Christmas Carol, Stave One)
    In the Climate Or the Town or To Diffuse In Vain:
    There was nothing very cheerful in the climate or the town, and yet there was an air of cheerfulness abroad that the clearest summer air and brightest summer sun might have endeavoured to diffuse in vain. (Christmas Carol, Stave Three)

    That’s all I’ve got so far, but I’ll think on’t. I like ‘s suggestion of using Blake, too.

    • houseboatonstyx

      Re: Some more Dickens

      In an AU, what if Blake had written in a mythos less Biblical?

      • Marie Brennan

        Re: Some more Dickens

        I wish he had. I keep thinking I should find something in his work, but it keeps being too pervasively Biblical to quite work. (Not that Christian-related stuff can’t be used for the Onyx Court — the “midnight never come” quote being a case in point — but there are limits.)

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