NABOKV-L post 0001576, Sat, 28 Dec 1996 13:01:23 -0800

What's in the Pen Name?
From: Alexander Justice <>:

From=20an article in the SF Guardian, 4-24-96. Sorry if it's old news. This
is just part of a longer article by Brian Bouldrey.

The url is:


Beyond their purely utilitarian purposes, pseudonyms can also
create questions of identity that provide fictional fodder for
postmodernists. Graham Greene, who rarely used a pen name (which is
ironic, considering his political activities), carefully separated out his
"entertainments" from his more serious novels; but in later years he
stopped making such distinctions, inadvertently compounding the ambiguity
he tried to extinguish. Thomas Pynchon has created an identity out of a
nonidentity by hiding himself away; masturbatory essays have expounded
theory after theory about Pynchon, suggesting that he's J.D. Salinger,
William Gaddis, John Barth (or all four at once), or that Tom Robbins and
Pynchon are one and the same.

Vladimir Nabokov's early career was launched under the name V.
Sirin, and throughout his works he played with fake names, including
Sebastian Knight and the Nabokov anagram Vivian Darkbloom. Isak Dinesen
was Karen Blixen's pseudonym, but Blixen/Dinesen wrote a Gothic novel
called The Angelic Avengers=A0 under the pseudonym Pierre Andrezel.

Alexander Justice * * Moorfields, California, USA

"I have good reason to be content,for thank God I can read and perhaps
understand Shakespeare to his depths." -- Keats