trilogy vs a group of two, four, ... books, movies, etc

Discussion in 'English Only' started by audiolaik, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. audiolaik

    audiolaik Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Hello,

    If trilogy means a set of three literary or dramatic works related in subject or theme, what do you call a set of two works?

    Thank you.
     
  2. jpredman123 Senior Member

    England-English
  3. audiolaik

    audiolaik Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Thank you, jpredman123. Why is this word so rarely used?
     
  4. jpredman123 Senior Member

    England-English
    I really don't know... I have never heard anyone say the kill bill duology for example. Generally they would be referred to as the two Kill Bill films. The word trilogy is common when discussing films, however, Lord of the rings trilogy etc
     
  5. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    One reason is that film series rarely stop at two: they gather momentum as they (generally) lose quality.
     
  6. audiolaik

    audiolaik Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Very true, very true....
     
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Aaargh: audio, why do you ask such difficult questions?

    Trilogy - yes, a sequence of three books.

    A sequence of two books: I have no idea:eek:

    But the second in an (open-ended) sequence would be a sequel.
     
  8. audiolaik

    audiolaik Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    The reason is simple: I make a living answering my students' questions.:)
     
  9. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    I have encountered duology, but frankly it is so obscure that it almost seems pedantic.
     
  10. iconoclast Senior Member

    mexico
    english - anglo-irish
    A book begets a sequel begets a trilogy begets a Potteresque series.

    A film begets a sequel begets a trilogy begets a prequel begets a sequel begets all the Star Wars movies.
     
  11. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    I agree, Bibbles.
    Audi, you could always call them a pair:eek:
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2009
  12. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    ... and then of course the third, when it arrives, will be the sequel to the second — and the fourth the sequel to the third ... etc, ad inf

    Maybe it's because a series of two isn't so striking ("Oh, he's just brought out a follow-up"); whereas three makes people sit up and take notice ("Wow, three! This guy's on a roll. Better give it a name, uuh ... trilogy!"). After that the quadris and pentas all get a bit difficult, so it's usually just called a saga.

    Sometimes the term 'trilogy' struggles on within a saga. Asimov's "Foundation Trilogy" became so established that when a fourth, fifth, etc were added, the full set became the "Foundation Saga", but the first three were still lovingly dubbed the "Foundation Trilogy".

    Ws:)
     
  13. sasako Member

    German
    One reason for the special use of this expression could be the special form of a trilogy. Unlike a pair of books or films, it often has an entry, a main part and an end - which gives it an almost "classical" character (remember popular ones like "Lord of the Rings"). This makes a trilogy different from a pair of books - there is a certain resemblance to a piece written for theatrical performance. There is an opening, a "middle part" and an end, and this makes a trilogy so special when compared to "endless sequels" with an open end.
    Maybe, some of the book-trilogies remember to a dramatic structure (exposition- climax- denouement) - but this is widely interpreted, of course.

    I hope I could make myself understandable...well, I am practising :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2009
  14. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
  15. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Indeed, sasako, you did make yourself understood ... Practice makes perfect. ;)

    That's an interesting point you raise, and I'd agree for the cases where the author plans it as a trilogy from the start.

    But if the decision to produce a second work is made after the first one comes out, then the first would be an opening/middle/end in itself.

    I guess it's a bit like the distinction (rarely made these days!) between a TV serial and a TV series.

    Ws:)
     
  16. sasako Member

    German
    This is right, of course - and I think this is why most of the Hollywood movies are not "planned trilogies" but simply sequels that contain three parts.
    But at least, I think you could say that IF a series is strictly planned from the beginning on, it mostly includes two or three parts, rarely more (one famous exception is the "Harry Potter" series).
     
  17. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There is a special term for a trilogy.
    Three is a special number.
    Beginning, middle, end.
    Introduction, discussion, conclusion.
    Thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

    Conjuring special terms for other numbers of works is a game without soul.
    ______________________

    I should perhaps expand a little.

    I think there is something more profound about a set of three than a set of any other number.

    Culturally, we have words for sets of three, occasionally for sets of two and for sets of more than three.

    Looking for words for two, four, and so on may be linguistically satisfying, but the answers are likely to be devoid of the mystical power of the "three" words.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
  18. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I'd go with that, sasako

    I take your point, panj, at least for numbers above three.

    Though a duology might be said to have soul, if its elements reflected, say ...
    - Yin & Yang
    - Ego & Alter Ego
    - Image & Mirror Image
    - Good & Evil
    ... or any other soul-touching conceptual pair.

    [Did I really write that? See the effect you have when you wax philosophical, panj :D]

    ---------
    Edit:

    So two's linguistically satisfying company, but three's a mystically powerful crowd. :D

    I'm trying to apply your principle to bicycle and tricycle ... but I'm not feeling it yet!

    Ws:)
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
  19. I agree with ewie: it's a pair.
     
  20. AngelEyes

    AngelEyes Senior Member

    English - United States
    In reference to books, I'd use these:

    Two-book set
    Volumes 1 & 2
    Books 1 & 2
    Two volume book(s)
    Two volume set
    Two-book series

    And as Loob stated, the first book and its sequel.

    AngelEyes
     
  21. audiolaik

    audiolaik Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Hello,

    By the way, this is what I've just managed to find:

    source
     
  22. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Threequel?

    Ewwww:rolleyes:

    Also :eek::eek:
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2009
  23. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Oh I like it, Mrs.L. It's cute.
     
  24. omidnice Senior Member

    Turkish - Azerbaijani
    << Mod note: This thread has been added to a previous thread. Please scroll up and read from the top. >>

    Hi everybody!

    OED says that:

    trilogy

    noun
    /ˈtrɪlədʒi/
    plural trilogies
    a group of three books, movies, etc. that have the same subject or characters

    I was wondering if there is a group of two, four, ... books, movies, etc, is there a way of expressing it in a word?

    Thank you in advance.:)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2013
  25. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
  26. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    Spanish
    Hello omidnice,

    Wikipedia's entry for trilogy contains a section with terms used for other numbered series:
    .
    "Words to describe sets of another number of works of art other than three are sometimes created by following the Greek etymology of "trilogy". Using the Greek numerical prefixes, these would be as follows for series with between two and ten entries":

    Derived from Greek: 2 (no Greek equivalent), 3 Trilogy, 4 Tetralogy. 5 Pentalogy, 6 Hexalogy, 7 Heptalogy, 8 Octalogy, 9 Ennealogy, 10 Decalogy.

    Variations: 2 Duology (has been used in some pairs of genre fiction novels). 4 Quadrilogy (has been used to describe certain film series).
    .
    EDIT: Cross-posted with DonnyB and Loob.
     
  27. omidnice Senior Member

    Turkish - Azerbaijani
    Thank you all for your responses. Although some answers seems to be cross-posted, they express various viewpoints and also new things. :D
     
  28. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Referring back to panj's comment in #17 (that there's something special about the number three), which may explain why trilogy is encountered more often than the terms for other sets, we have a good example from the late Douglas Adams. The fourth and fifth volumes of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy were humorously subtitled (at least in post-1992 editions) as "Volume Four in the Trilogy of Five" and "Volume Five in the Trilogy of Five".

    Ws:)
     

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