From Chapter 6, 'Capitals'

6.4   Titles of Books and Other Writings

In most modern European languages except English and French, and in Latin and transliterated Slavonic languages, capitalization in the titles of books, series, articles, essays, poems, etc. follows the rules of capitalization in normal prose. That is, the first word and all proper nouns (in German all nouns) take an initial capital, and all other words take a lower-case initial:

La vida es sueño; El alcalde de Zalamea; Il seme sotto la neve; De senectute; Autorenlexikon der deutschen Gegenwartsliteratur; Obras clássicas da literatura portuguesa

In English titles the initial letters of the first word and of all nouns, pronouns (except the relative ‘that’), adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinating conjunctions are capitalized, but those of articles, possessive determiners (‘my’, etc.), prepositions, and the co-ordinating conjunctions ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’, and ‘nor’ are not:

(books) Put Out More Flags; How Far Can You Go?; The Man Who Was Thursday; All’s Well that Ends Well; Pride and Prejudice; A Voyage towards the South Pole; (series) A Social History of the Welsh Language; (poems) The Faerie Queene; ‘The Passionate Shepherd to his Love’

The first word of a subtitle following a colon is capitalized:

Strange Music: The Metre of the English Heroic Line

The Wild Card of Reading: On Paul de Man

but or, introducing an alternative title after a semi-colon, is not:

All for Love; or, The World Well Lost

English works with foreign titles are normally capitalized according to the English convention rather than that of the language of the title:

Religio Medici; ‘Portrait d’une Femme’; ‘La Figlia che Piange’

In French titles it is normally only the initial letters of the first word and of proper nouns that are capitalized. But if the first word is a definite article, the following noun and any preceding adjectives also take an initial capital:

Le Médecin malgré lui; Les Grands Cimetières sous la lune; Un début dans la vie; Une ténébreuse affaire; Du latin aux langues romanes; Nouveau cours de grammaire; Histoire de la littérature française; A la recherche du temps perdu

However, for reasons of symmetry, capitals are sometimes used elsewhere:

‘Le Corbeau et le Renard’; Le Rouge et le Noir

and titles consisting of a complete sentence do not take additional capitals:

Les dieux ont soif; La guerre de Troie n’aura pas lieu

Capitalization in the titles of newspapers and journals is inconsistent. In particular, in Romance languages, initials of some or all nouns and adjectives are sometimes capitalized, e.g. Le Bien Public, Il Corriere della Sera, Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace, El País, La Repubblica, Revue de Linguistique Romane. The safest procedure is to adopt the preferred style of each publication.


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