By Stephen Smith
An Inkwell of Pen Names tells the tales of a hundred authors' pen names in 100 brief chapters. Many different authors who used pen names are mentioned by the way. good points of the compendium comprise pen names starting with each letter of the alphabet, authors from twenty-five international locations, the recipients of the Nobel Prize for literature who used pseudonyms, and a balanced number of women and men authors.
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Extra resources for An Inkwell of Pen Names
Leona Rostenberg, a rare book collector, discovered correspondence between Alcott and Elliot while looking through a box of Alcott materials in the Harvard library. The letters reveal that Alcott used A. M. Barnard as her pen name. Rostenberg published her findings in “Some Anonymous and Pseudonymous Thrillers of Louisa M. Alcott,” which appeared in the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America in 1943. Madeline Stern edited Behind a Mask: The Unknown Thrillers of Louisa M. Alcott (1975) and dedicated the anthology to Dr.
E. (A Lady of England). Mary Abigail Dodge wrote under the name Gail Hamilton (which combines part of her middle name and Hamilton, Massachusetts, her birthplace. Robert H. Newell used Orpheus C. Kerr as his pseudonym (a play on the words “office seeker”). Louise de la Ramé chose Ouida (pronounced weeda) as her nom de plume because that was the way she said her own name as a child. Sydney Dobell wrote under the name Sydney Yendys (spelling his first name backwards). In the spirit of our own time the author of a recently published book about cybercafes used the cognomen Cyberkath.
Her first short story, “The Rival Painters, A Tale of Rome,” was published in Olive Branch in 1852 under the same name. A second story, “The Rival Prima Donnas,” was published in the Saturday Evening Gazette in 1854. In that tale one singer crushes another to death. Once again the story was attributed to Flora Fairfield, but the name is too gentle for the plot it is linked with. Perhaps for that reason Alcott soon took another pen name. In the meantime Alcott married John Pratt, making her name Louisa Pratt.
An Inkwell of Pen Names by Stephen Smith