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The Secret Identities of Authors: Unveiling the First Pen Names in Literary History!

The Secret Identities of Authors: Unveiling the First Pen Names in Literary History!

Pen name. Nom de plume. Literary alter ego. Whatever you call it, this clever disguise has been used by some of your favorite authors, transforming our view of their literary masterpieces. From the enchanting world created by Lewis Carroll to the sharp wit of Benjamin Franklin, these authors' decision to publish under names different from their birth names unveils a captivating chapter in literary history.

Dive into the intriguing tale of why and how these iconic figures masked their true identities with memorable pseudonyms!


The Early Days of Literary Disguise

Lewis Carroll: A Scholar's Creative Alias

Believe it or not, the concept of a modern pen name dates back to the 1720s. One notable early adopter was Charles Dodgson, an Oxford scholar. Under the alias Lewis Carroll, he transformed his real name through a series of translations and reversals, creating a memorable pseudonym to publish his literary works under.

Benjamin Franklin: A Master of Many Names

Benjamin Franklin, a prominent figure in American history, used multiple pen names for various purposes. One of his most famous pseudonyms was Silence Dogood, under which he penned a column in the New England Courant in 1722. Franklin's use of pen names like Anthony Afterwit and Poor Richard allowed him to remain anonymous or present contrasting views on issues.


Why Adopt a Pen Name?

The reasons for using a pen name are as diverse as the authors themselves. For some, like Carroll, it might be a way to separate an author's academic life from their literary pursuits. For others, like Franklin, it was a tool for anonymity and the freedom to express controversial or differing opinions without personal repercussions.

Pen names have played a pivotal role in the literary world, offering writers the liberty to explore, create, and influence under a veil of secrecy. From Lewis Carroll to Benjamin Franklin, these early instances of pseudonyms paved the way for countless authors to adopt their own literary alter egos.

References: The history of pen names | 15 Famous Pen Names and the Writers Behind Them. Authority

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