John Mullan's Anonymity: A Secret History of English Literature PDF

By John Mullan

ISBN-10: 0691139415

ISBN-13: 9780691139418

A number of the maximum works in English literature have been first released with out their authors' names. Why did such a lot of authors are looking to be anonymous--and what was once it prefer to learn their books with no realizing for yes who had written them? In Anonymity, John Mullan offers a desirable and unique historical past of hidden identification in English literature. From the 16th century to this day, he explores how the disguises of writers have been first used and at last penetrated, how anonymity teased readers and bamboozled critics--and how, whilst e-book reports have been additionally nameless, reviewers performed methods in their personal in go back. this present day we've forgotten that the 1st readers of Gulliver's Travels and experience and Sensibility needed to bet who their authors may be, and that writers like Sir Walter Scott and Charlotte Bront went to tricky lengths to maintain mystery their authorship of the best-selling books in their instances. yet, in reality, anonymity is all over the place in English literature. Spenser, Donne, Marvell, Defoe, quick, Fanny Burney, Austen, Byron, Thackeray, Lewis Carroll, Tennyson, George Eliot, Sylvia Plath, and Doris Lessing--all concealed their names. With nice lucidity and wit, Anonymity tells the tales of those and lots of different writers, offering a fast paced, exciting, and informative journey throughout the heritage of English literature.

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Extra resources for Anonymity: A Secret History of English Literature

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10:37:15:11:07 Page 19 Page 20 20 anonymity As Swift was not trying to remain completely hidden from his readers, so other authors who have used anonymity and pseudonymity have expected to have their identities guessed at. Follow in any detail the use of anonymity by literary writers – satirists, poets, dramatists and novelists – and you will find that only rarely is final concealment the aim. Swift’s use of anonymity to excite speculation about authorship, and about the author’s designs, turns out to be typical rather than peculiar.

The novelist had chosen anonymity and so, even in a book designed to settle the attribution of his novels, it would be ungentlemanly to handle his real name. Talking of the Waverley novelist as ‘the Author of Marmion’ was more than a matter of politeness.  Throughout the novels the critic found passages ‘which betray the poet’s hand’. The Bride of Lammermoor, for example, has ‘that fervour and exaltation of mind, that keen susceptibility of emotion, and that towering and perturbed state of the imagination, which poetry alone can produce’.

If “some topic in the novels” was accidentally mentioned, “conversation . .  That Scott was playing a game was evident from his willingness to talk of his fiction tangentially. “Though Sir Walter abstained strictly from any mention of the Waverley novels, he did not scruple to talk, and that with great zest, of the plays which had been founded upon some of them, and the characters, as there represented”. ’ You get a glimpse here, as Scott shows the young literary enthusiast around his grounds, of one reason why Scott might have found anonymity congenial.

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Anonymity: A Secret History of English Literature by John Mullan


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