In books and other works, a subtitle is an explanatory or alternate title that usually offer a generalization or moral drawn from the work's plot. Subtitles were a common feature of English literary works of the 17th and 18th centuries, especially plays. In the early 17th century, this convention was sometimes made fun of, as in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, or, What You Will; while in the sententious 18th century, subtitles will normally point a serious morality, even in case of comic works.
The "Virtue Rewarded" subtitle has been used by a variety of books as a reminder or boast to reader/audience that the neoclassical principle of poetic justice will be upheld by the plot. With changing cultural perceptions in the 20th-century, such a principle has again become a joke. Note the rhyme Sordid/Rewarded in the title of Winifred Phelps' "Melodrama". In academic discourse in the 20th century, subtitles began to be full explanations of the subject of a work, while the title itself was a gnomic or cryptically poetic phrase. This reliance upon the subtitle is part of the comic density of literary reference brought into play in the Anatomy of Melancholy by Cook et al., implying that dissertation-writing is governed both by the poetic justice principle—virtue rewarded—and by the depressive symptoms described in Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy (1622).
This list is a compilation of works whose full subtitle is "Virtue Rewarded". Thus The Crafty Chambermaid, or, Beauty and Virtue Rewarded (London, 1800) does not qualify, nor Virtue Rewarded, or, The Faithful Lady (London, 1795).
|Colley Cibber||Love's Last Shift, or, Virtue Rewarded||Play||1696||Amanda reclaims her rakish husband.||married woman||chastity and wifely tact||return of straying husband|
|Charles Shadwell||Irish Hospitality, or, Virtue Rewarded||Play||1720||Sir Patrick Worthy helps his children and neighbours.||middle-aged Irish squire||good nature, thoughtful fatherhood||chorus of praise, children well settled|
|Samuel Richardson||Pamela, or, Virtue Rewarded||Novel||1740||Pamela rebuffs her aristocratic would-be seducer.||15-year-old lady's maid||humility and embattled chastity||grand marriage to aforesaid would-be seducer|
|?||History of Constantius and Pulchera; or, Virtue rewarded||Adventure novel||1802||?||?||?||?|
|Elizabeth Barrett Browning||"Sebastian, or, Virtue Rewarded"||Poem||1815||?||?||?||?|
|Eliza Pope||Henry and Julietta, or, Virtue Rewarded: A Tale, Founded on Fact||Novel||1818||?||?||?||?|
|M. Bryant||My Uncle’s Present, or, Virtue Rewarded||Collection of moral tales||1820||?||?||?||?|
|T. H. Cauldwell||History of Lorenzo and Virginia, or, Virtue Rewarded: An Address to the Young Ladies of Columbia||Novel||1834|
|John Charles Tarver||James, or, Virtue Rewarded||Novel||1896||?||?||?||?|
|Winifred Phelps||Temptation Sordid, or, Virtue Rewarded, A Melodrama||Play||1960||Two lovers defeat the machinations of a fortunehunter.||a pure-hearted young couple||resistance of diabolical wiles||union of love over dead bodies of enemies|
|David Slavitt (Henry Sutton)||Rochelle, or, Virtue Rewarded||Erotic fiction||1966||A young woman resists the lure of vice.||dull but virtuous girl||?||?|
|Stanley Cook, William J. Sullivan, Fred Moramarco||Anatomy of Melancholy, or, Virtue Rewarded: The Making of the Dissertation||Textbook||1969||A doctoral dissertation gets written.||the dissertation-writer||work ethic, overcoming writer's cramp||Ph.D.|