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Capitalization of Narnian Chapters  

Wanderer Between Worlds
NarniaWeb Nut

I was looking at my sister’s Narnia set last week and I noticed something a bit odd. She has a set of the Chronicles published in 2015 by HarperCollins. Hers was printed and bound in the UK and ordered chronologically. The covers have art by Pauline Baynes, but her illustrations are uniquely arranged. Her set can be found on Amazon here here. The set that I own is published in the United States, ordered chronologically, and distributed by HarperCollins as well. The cover art is not by Pauline Baynes. My set can be found here.

I noticed that the capitalization of the chapters in my sister’s set of books is quite odd. For example, the chapters of LWW read as follows:

Lucy looks into a wardrobe
What Lucy found there
Edmund and the wardrobe
Turkish Delight
Back on this side of the door
Into the forest
A day with the Beavers
What happened after dinner
In the Witch’s House
The spell begins to break
Aslan is nearer
Peter’s first battle
Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time
The triumph of the Witch
Deeper Magic from before the Dawn of Time
What happened to the statues
The hunting of the White Stag

I’ve never seen chapters in a Narnia book titled like this. The books in my set have all the major words capitalized like the title of a book (Lucy Looks into a Wardrobe, What Lucy Found There, etc.). The capitalization of my sister’s set does not at all seem to me to be consistent, especially given that her copy of HHB contains chapter titles that do have all of their major words capitalized in the table of contents (How Shasta Set Out on His Travels, Shasta Falls In With the Narnians, etc.). It seemed strange to me that HHB was the only book in the entire box set to have this type of capitalization...and then I looked at the header of pages where the chapter titles are listed throughout the book. They were printed in a lowercase format (How Shasta set out on his travels, Shasta falls in with the Narnians, etc.)! Oh, well, I suppose it was a typography error, though an odd one to be sure. ;))

I hope that this all makes sense. Forgive me if I’m splitting hairs or making a big deal out of nothing, but I personally find this fascinating and would be interested to know if anyone else has seen the chapters capitalized in this way. :)

"I am,” said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

Posted : April 17, 2020 3:43 pm
Col Klink
NarniaWeb Nut

That's weird. Must be some new style of titling chapters that I haven't heard of. I don't really frequent the kind of blogs that would have informed me of it. (If such blogs exist.) Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen

Posted : April 17, 2020 5:03 pm
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

Wanderer Between Worlds, the list you have given seems consistent if you follow these rules:
Any personal name (human or beast), name of a building (Witch's House), name of a foodstuff (Turkish Delight), significant thing (Deep Magic, White Stag, Dawn of Time), should be capitalised in a title.
Other words in the title should not be capitalised.
It was always usual to capitalise all words in a title, or else all but the small words (and, the, to, in, etc).

So, I could have sworn that the official title of LWW is all capitalised, thus The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe. So I dug out a copy or two.

But it isn't - the facsimile of the first edition has all capitals ('and the' smaller)THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, on the spine, then THE LION, THE WITCH and THE WARDROBE on the front. The chapter headings are all smaller capitals, and the word 'BEFORE' is italicised in 'BEFORE THE DAWN OF TIME'.

By the 1973 Puffin copy, which was my first set, the spine has block capitals on the spine, fancy italics on the front: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, and Italicised chapter headings as you listed.

Harper Collins was publishing by 2000 when my large hardback copy has: all capitals on the spine with larger capitals for The, Lion, Witch, Wardrobe and capitalised words on the front cover (except 'the' & 'and the'). The chapter headings are similar to your list, but 'dawn' has no capital ('the dawn of Time').

My guess is that the editors/publishers decided that children should have ordinary writing in chapter headings as much as possible.

Posted : April 17, 2020 6:26 pm
NarniaWeb Zealot

Any personal name (human or beast), name of a building (Witch's House), name of a foodstuff (Turkish Delight), significant thing (Deep Magic, White Stag, Dawn of Time), should be capitalised in a title.
Other words in the title should not be capitalised.
It was always usual to capitalise all words in a title, or else all but the small words (and, the, to, in, etc).

It sounds about right, at least within the book, to emphasize in chapter headings significant bits of the story. The covers are often a whole new kettle of fish, to be appealing to the casual shopper or reader. Besides, did Harper Collins in producing these copies, consult Library of Congress rules about titles, the ones we were expected to follow in libraries? Titles in a bibliography only have to be capitalised by the initial letter in the title. Unless there is in that title, a proper name, a place name (eg Narnia), or particular times & months of the year, eg (The February dragon, The real Easter Bunny, or, Deborah Cadbury's Easter bunnies for all chocolate-lovers), usual capitalisation rules & practice also apply. That includes adjectives indicating nationality as well.

If someone is called The Witch (ie Jadis) yes it should be capitalised. Same with The Lion (ie Aslan), but not necessarily the wardrobe, since until you read the story at first appearance it is just any old wardrobe, however unique as it turns out to be. A chapter title might well be Turkish Delight within LLW, but if Deborah Cadbury was writing a book about how Fry's Turkish delight became incorporated into Cadbury's Easter eggs, you might find a chapter heading capitalised quite differently. Similarly, even if I was writing a book about Jadis, I would be more inclined to say The White Witch's house, or The Witch's house.

When chapter titles are applicable they very often are all in block letters, anyway, so there isn't a noticeable problem, & it may well be the convention inside a book to capitalise more significant items & buildings as well. Meanwhile, I wouldn't get into a stew about it, let alone a witch's cauldron. You can get into enough "double, double, toil & trouble" with such niceties even when it is part of working life. ;) Do enjoy your nice unique copy of The Narnia Chronicles meanwhile. :D ... N3dGM/view

Posted : April 25, 2020 5:45 pm