What's in a name?
In our "look at me" era, everyone's a brand. Privacy now seems a quaint relic, and self-effacement is a thing of the past. Yet, as Nom de Plume reminds us, this was not always the case. Exploring the fascinating stories of more than a dozen authorial impostors across several centuries and cultures, Carmela Ciuraru plumbs the creative process and the darker, often crippling aspects of fame.
Biographies have chronicled the lives of pseudonymous authors such as Mark Twain, Isak Dinesen, and George Eliot, but never before have the stories behind many noms de plume been collected into a single volume. These are narratives of secrecy, obsession, modesty, scandal, defiance, and shame: Only through the protective guise of Lewis Carroll could a shy, half-deaf Victorian mathematician at Oxford feel free to let his imagination run wild. The "three weird sisters" (as they were called by the poet Ted Hughes) from Yorkshire—the Brontes—produced instant bestsellers that transformed them into literary icons, yet they wrote under the cloak of male authorship. Bored by her aristocratic milieu, a cigar-smoking, cross-dressing baroness rejected the rules of propriety by having sexual liaisons with men and women alike, publishing novels and plays under the name George Sand.
Grounded by research yet highly accessible and engaging, these provocative, astonishing stories reveal the complex motives of writers who harbored secret identities—sometimes playfully, sometimes with terrible anguish and tragic consequences. A wide-ranging examination of pseudonyms both familiar and obscure, Nom de Plume is part detective story, part exposé, part literary history, and an absorbing psychological meditation on identity and creativity.
About Carmela CiuraruSee more books from this Author
Ciuraru builds each history as its own personal story, then builds the literary charm and genius behind the pathos...creating a history of pseudonyms that becomes a tale of literary genius all its own.Read Full Review of Nom de Plume | See more reviews from LA Times
“Nom de Plume” is an interesting book, but by its very nature an odd one. After laying the groundwork in her thoughtful introduction,Read Full Review of Nom de Plume
The book is as much a meditation on the creative process as it is a tell-all about names and the intrigue, branding or mind games that created them.Read Full Review of Nom de Plume
I admire Ciuraru’s effort–I admire the considerable research she patently did, I admire her feeling for a great quotation, and I am glad that she was able to sell this idea and get the book published.Read Full Review of Nom de Plume
Pseudonyms are the subject of Carmela Ciuraru's engrossing, well-paced literary history Nom de Plume.Read Full Review of Nom de Plume
chronicles the lives of 16 notable authors who wrote under false names, and recounts the lives of the pseudonyms themselves.Read Full Review of Nom de Plume
On the whole, however, I found this to be an engaging and entertaining read.Read Full Review of Nom de Plume
A collection of literary biographies about fiction writers from the 19th century to the 1970s who have used pseudonyms, Nom de Plume is a treat for lovers of literature.Read Full Review of Nom de Plume
...was an enjoyable collection of miniature biographies about various literary figures throughout more recent history that have written and published under pseudonyms.Read Full Review of Nom de Plume
I think this book is great for English majors in college. Ciuraru provides interesting insight not only into the author’s lives but also their works and the contextual relevance...Read Full Review of Nom de Plume
This book on literary pseudonyms has become one of my favourite reads of the year. In fact, I may have stayed up late reading it on more than one occasion.Read Full Review of Nom de Plume
The author has a great way of getting the reader's attention at the start of each chapter with a statement about one of the eccentricities of the upcoming writer.Read Full Review of Nom de Plume
The author doesn’t let me down either. She’s adept at finding facts and translating historical information about the secretive lives of the authors, without excessive melodrama.Read Full Review of Nom de Plume
Each chapter of the book is an encapsulated life of an author who wrote behind the mask of an alias.Read Full Review of Nom de Plume
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