Arab Today, arab today nom de plume a secret history of pseudonyms
Last Updated : GMT 01:21:23
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms

London - Arabstoday

We often think of writing as a form of self-expression, but how much do words truly reveal about their authors? This question is at the heart of Carmela Ciuraru\'s Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms, a fascinating investigation of why writers use pen names. The book begins with a meditation on the power of naming. \"Names are loaded, full of pitfalls and possibilities, and can prove obstacles to writing ...\" Ciuraru explains. \"A change of name, much like a change of scenery, provides a chance to begin again.\" With skilled research and palpable empathy, Ciuraru chronicles the lives of secretive storytellers — those who wished to communicate without being known. In our tell-all age, such shyness might seem strange but there was a time when pseudonyms were common. Many literary giants have disguised their identities — including George Eliot, Lewis Carroll and O\'Henry — and Nom de Plume gives us insight into the men and women behind the masks. Through well-chosen quotes, Ciuraru lets the authors speak for themselves. By sampling extensively from letters and diaries, she shows the vast gulf that can exist between an author\'s identity and his or her persona on the page. Here is an example. A profile of Alice Sheldon — who wrote science fiction under a male pseudonym — includes Sheldon\'s pathetic confession that \"I\'m fond of a hundred people who no more know ‘me\' than the landscape of Antarctica\". These kinds of quotes flesh out the historical figures Ciuraru describes and help readers understand their motivations. Though the book overemphasises scandals and includes some unwarranted speculation, it also includes illuminating details. This is particularly true in the chapter on O\'Henry, which describes the incredible steps he took to prevent people from discovering his criminal past. According to Ciuraru, O\'Henry wrote letters from jail where he claimed he was working abroad and — after he was set free — he repeatedly lied during interviews with reporters. And he is not the only pseudonymous writer with something to hide. The Bronte sisters wrote under male names, because — as Charlotte Bronte put it — they \"had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice\". But pseudonyms can also facilitate honesty. Without fear of retribution, authors such as George Eliot felt empowered to express their controversial views. Such ethical complexities are treated thoughtfully by Ciuraru, whose non-judgmental tone allows readers to come to their own conclusions. Highly nuanced, Ciuraru recognises the tension between lying and truth-telling in pseudonymous writing, and her most intelligent arguments regard that subject. She explains how a person conveys their personality when they choose a pseudonym: Who we aspire to be is a significant part of who we are, Ciuraru explains, which is why even a Halloween costume can reveal a person\'s character. Ciuraru cites the maxim of Fernando Pessoa, a poet with more than 70 pseudonyms: \"To pretend is to know oneself.\" Yet she concedes the dangers of camouflage, when she describes the racist manifestos authors have written under assumed names. Unwilling to sugarcoat or oversimplify, Ciuraru frankly describes the use and abuse of pseudonyms throughout history. Hers is a compelling account, not only because of its innovative approach to an understudied subject but also because of its amusing anecdotes. Did you know, for example, that George Orwell pretended to be a hobo to understand \"the common man\"? Or that Mark Twain filed annoying letters he received in a folder labelled \"From an Ass\"? With description that captures the imagination, Nom de Plume is what non-fiction should be — accessible, thought-provoking and highly entertaining. Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms By Carmela Ciuraru, Harper, 366 pages, $24.99

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today nom de plume a secret history of pseudonyms Arab Today, arab today nom de plume a secret history of pseudonyms

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Fadi explains secrets of  Nancy Ajram's newlook

GMT 18:23 2017 Friday ,24 February

Fadi explains secrets of  Nancy Ajram's newlook
Arab Today, arab today Tourist guide explains types of tourism

GMT 18:28 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Tourist guide explains types of tourism
Arab Today, arab today Expresses Algerian history by woody figures

GMT 13:26 2017 Friday ,24 February

Expresses Algerian history by woody figures
Arab Today, arab today Iran complying with nuclear deal

GMT 07:14 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Iran complying with nuclear deal
Arab Today, arab today Zainab al-Maliki reveals herTV presenter models

GMT 18:12 2017 Friday ,24 February

Zainab al-Maliki reveals herTV presenter models

GMT 15:04 2017 Wednesday ,04 January

Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ becomes German bestseller

GMT 23:50 2016 Thursday ,08 December

UAE is helping the Arab world read more books

GMT 11:07 2016 Monday ,07 November

Sheikh Zayed Book Award announces first longlist

GMT 10:03 2016 Thursday ,13 October

A new illustrated book compares Beirut and New York

GMT 08:55 2016 Sunday ,25 September

Chinese Book Fair kicks off in Kathmandu
View News in Arabic - Culture: مراجعة كتب
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Reading therapy relieves mental disorders

GMT 15:39 2017 Friday ,24 February

Reading therapy relieves mental disorders
Arab Today, arab today UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years

GMT 05:14 2017 Thursday ,23 February

UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years
Arab Today, arab today Penguins in the age of dinos

GMT 11:44 2017 Saturday ,25 February

Penguins in the age of dinos
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today 'Constructive' Vauxhall talk with union

GMT 08:54 2017 Saturday ,25 February

'Constructive' Vauxhall talk with union
Arab Today, arab today Tesla back into red but revenue grows

GMT 07:27 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Tesla back into red but revenue grows
Arab Today, arab today Actress Lobna Abdel Aziz proud of her career

GMT 06:08 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Actress Lobna Abdel Aziz proud of her career
Arab Today, arab today Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage

GMT 12:16 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage

GMT 07:36 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Wafaa Amer is happy for Sherihan’s return

GMT 12:35 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby

GMT 22:42 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Nasima Gamei revives heritage in jewelries

GMT 10:28 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Milan laughs while Rome cries

GMT 20:33 2017 Friday ,17 February

To release new antiques collection

GMT 10:20 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Brazil's top diplomat resigns

GMT 11:54 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Saudis await visitors but will they come?

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 20:02 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Nohan Seyam designs beautiful accessories
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday