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literary heritage
The Most Famous Literary Pseudonyms
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It is a fact of common awareness that many famous writers signed and published their books under certain nicknames, or as we recognize them – pseudonyms. There were various reasons why and what for literary “celebrities” decided to hide their identities from public audience, as well as some pseudonyms choices could sound odd. All in all, it does not worsen the magnificence of novels, poems or short stories written by shy word-painters. Here is the list of the most famous pseudonyms in the world literary heritage.

There are a lot of examples of pen names associated this or that place, which played a significant role in writer’s biography. Marie-Henri Beyle, or Stendhal, used the name of some Brandenburg town where the respected art historian Winkelmann was born. In the alike way the other French writer picked up the pseudonym of his own: Moliere (in real Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) used the name of little French town; in sober fact, there were several Molire towns dispersed over France at the time. Ukrainian writer Maria Vilinskaya-Markovic chosen her pen name from a title of the village near the town of Nemirov, where she lived, and the name appears to be an abbreviation of her husband’s last name. She entered Ukrainian literature as Marko Vovchok.

There are also some cases that underline authors were forced to use pen name. André Maurois, for example, was “invented” by Émile Salomon Wilhelm Herzog, an outstanding French biography writer. Being the participant of World War I, he accomplished orders of the highest command. It made him to publish Les silences du colonel Bramble under the pseudonym. He took the name of his girlfriend. Political motives are also observed in case of Pinocchio’s creator. An Italian writer Carlo Lorenzini is known to readers under the pseudonym of Collodi. Lorenzini participated in the national liberation movement, so a nickname was of high necessity. He began to sign his works as Carlo Collodi - by name of the town, where his mother was born.

Abolishment and persecution of liberty of speech also caused a lot of problems for enthusiastic writers.

François-Marie Arouet, a French writer and philosopher, educator, was known as Voltaire (Voltaire - an anagram of the word “Arouet ml” (fallen). He used more than 160 aliases to escape persecutions of censorship. It is also interesting to know that one of the reasons he used so many pen names was dissatisfaction of Voltaire’s’ relatives, who did not want to see their last name on books.


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