RARA-AVIS: Double your title?

Bill Hagen (billha@ionet.net)
Sat, 15 May 1999 23:47:49 -0500 (CDT) I'm in the middle of Lawrence Block's _After the First Death_. Not one of
any series, as far as I know, about a fellow that has a bad habit of waking
up next to prostitutes who have gotten their throats slashed--and now wants
to find out who's setting him up, at least he thinks so because he can't
remember past his alcoholic blackouts. (I'm recommending it.)

But, to my question. The title is from a Dylan Thomas poem, "A Refusal to
Mourn a Child's Death by Fire" (think that's it). Exactly ten years later
(1979), Robert Cormier--a pretty good author in his own right--used the
title for a novel in which a school bus full of kids are held as hostages
(if memory serves). His novel acknowledges the Dylan Thomas estate's
permission to quote from the poem.

Though my Carroll & Graf edition of the novel is dated 1994, it shows that
Block copyrighted the book in 1969. So, help me out. Doesn't copyright
cover the title too? Or is it a matter of the DT Estate owning that phrase
from the poem, and so they can authorize a second use of it?

Just wondering.

Bill Hagen

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