Back in the late 1990s, when the first Harry Potter book was becoming a global phenomenon, children in the United Kingdom and the United States were actually reading two different books. OK, the content of the books was (mostly) the same, but the titles were different: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the UK, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the US. From books by Jane Austen to Agatha Christie, it turns out that this kind of thing has been happening for centuries. Joseph Rezek, a Boston University College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of English and director of the American & New England Studies Program, is both a scholar of literature and a book historian, studying the technology of print. In our video mini explainer, Rezek breaks down the complex history behind why the same book often ends up with different titles on opposite sides of the pond.
Devin Hahn creates video content for BU Today, Bostonia online, and The Brink. He is a producer, a cameraman, an editor, and, under duress, a writer. Profile