Inspired by the excruciating ruminations of Lisa Chellman, I finally started a list I’ve been meaning to make for a long time. I think you’ll quickly discern the theme:
Audubon’s Elephant, by Duff Hart-Davis (2004)
Caesar’s Column, by Ignatius Donnelly and Walter Rideout (1960)
Cleopatra’s Nose, by Daniel J. Boorstin (1994)
Cleopatra’s Nose, by Judith Thurman (2007)
Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis De Bernieres (1994)
D’Alembert’s Principle, by Andrew Crumey (1998)
Darconville’s Cat, by Alexander Theroux’s (1981)
Darwin’s Black Box, by Michael J. Behe (1996)
Darwin’s Wink, by Alison Anderson (2004)
Descartes’ Error, by Antonio Damaso (1994)
Flaubert’s Parrot, by Julian Barnes (1984)
Foucault’s Pendulum, by Umberto Eco (1989)
Galileo’s Daughter, by Dava Sobel (1999)
Galileo’s Finger, by Peter Atkins (2003)
Galileo’s Mistake, by Wade Rowland (2003)
Galileo’s Pendulum, by Roger G. Newton (2004)
Galileo’s Treasure Box, by Catherine Brighton (1987)
Hamlet’s Mill, by Giorgio De Santillana and Hertha von Dechend (1969)
Kafka’s Prayer, by Paul Goodman (1947)
Prospero’s Daughter, by Elizabeth Nunez (2006)
Prospero’s Daughters, by Sally Stewart (2006)
Puccini’s Ghosts, by Morag Joss (2006)
Pushkin’s Button, by Serena Vitale (1999)
Rembrandt’s Eyes, by Simon Schama (1999)
Rembrandt’s Nose, by Michael Taylor (2007)
Schopenhauer’s Porcupines, by Deborah Anna Luepnitz (2002)
Schopenhauer’s Telescope, by Gerard Donovan (2003)
Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy, by Robert Anton Wilson (1980-1981)
Stalin’s Nose, by Rory MacLean (1993)
Wittgenstein’s Poker, by David Edmonds and John Eidinow (2001)
There is, of course, an impressive Shakespearean subset:
Shakespeare’s Counselor, by Charlaine Harris (2001)
Shakespeare’s Daughter, by Peter W. Hassinger (2004)
Shakespeare’s Kitchen, by Lore Segal (2007)
Shakespeare’s Scribe, by Gary Blackwood (2000)
Shakespeare’s Spy, by Gary Blackwood (2003)
The question is, are there enough of these to create an A-Z? And should the rules restrict qualification to actual historical figures, or can we include titles like Alexander Theroux’s Darconville’s Cat (1981)?
These are just off the top of my head–there must be many more. Help me out!
Update #1: Bill Ott pointed me to his February 15, 2004 Back Page (“Working Titles“), which includes some good ones, especially a bunch of Galileos. Also, amazingly, his forthcoming column, in the May 15 issue, debunks the notion that we ever considered changing the name Booklist to Galileo’s Reviews.
Update #2: Donna Seaman offered a sweet-smelling quartet of books with “nose” in the title, including two Cleopatras.
Update #3: Sue-Ellen Beauregard suggested Prospero’s Daughter, and when I searched it, I found that Prospero had not one but two.
Update #4: More, more, more . . . good tips from Mary Ellen Quinn (Corelli), Ray Olson (Caesar, D’Alembert, Kafka), and Donna (Descartes).
Update #5: George Eberhart from American Libraries suggests Schrodinger, Hamlet, and Darwin.