Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Anonymity: A Secret History of English Literature

The Sydney Morning Herald reviews John Mullan's new book highlighting the whys and wherefores of anonymous publishing throughout the history of English literature.

From the story:

Mullan takes us back to a time when the work, not its creator, was valued. We're reminded that early readers of Gulliver's Travels and Sense And Sensibility played guessing games about their authors. From John Donne and Daniel Defoe to Sylvia Plath and Doris Lessing, the annals of literature are replete with authors concealing their identity. We may know George Eliot was a she but did we know her nom de plume was a convenient cover for a most un-Victorian private life? And did we know her incognito allowed her to experiment with public taste or that she admitted being willing to abandon George if he turned out to be "a dull dog"?

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