Everyone knows what a mondegreen is. It’s the term for when Jimi Hendrix sings, “‘Scuse me, while I kiss this guy” or children recite the Pledge of Allegiance with the line, “… and to the Republic for Richard Stands.” In other words, it’s an error of the ear.
There is no word, yet, for misread titles — an error of the eye. But these too are common, in these days of divided attention and vision difficulties. Editor Scott Edelman reported on Facebook recently that he misread a TV show name, Here Come the Drones, as Here Come the Bronies. Reading his post, I then misread it as Here Come the Brontes. And I knew exactly what the work was, too! (British sitcom. A madcap family of arty siblings set the moors of North Yorkshire ringing with their laughable antics. A cross between the Casson family YA novels by Hilary McKay and Fawlty Towers. With Michael Palin in the role of the lovable tippler curate father, Patrick Bronte.)
Another one would be THE TOWELS OF MARCO POLO, a volume which I actually once saw on a high shelf in a used book store. Palpitating with excitement, I fetched the stepladder and climbed up to examine it; disappointingly it was a faded TRAVELS OF MARCO POLO. (A Venetian interior designer’s quest across Central Asia for the bathroom decor of his dreams; large format, with many glossy photos of stacked towels and high-thread-count sheets, and a fulsome introduction by Martha Stewart.)
If you have misread a title recently, what would the misread work be about?
My newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out exclusively from Book View Café.