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Posts Tagged ‘pseudonyms’

Pulling a Rabbit Out of a Glass Hat

February 11, 2015 | by

Richard Price and the evolving role of pseudonyms.

books1f-2-web

From the cover of The Whites.

Richard Price’s new novel, The Whites, isn’t by Richard Price, except that it is. It’s by Harry Brandt, Price’s pseudonym, but it’s also not really by Brandt—Price’s name is on the cover, too, and so Price is Brandt, obviously, and it follows then that Brandt is Price, and thus, uh …

Let’s start over.

Richard Price’s new novel, The Whites, is by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt. It says so right there on the cover. Big deal, you might say; another author slumming it in genre fiction by creating a false identity for himself. But by publishing both his name and his pseudonym on the cover, Price has parted with centuries of pseudonymous convention. He hasn’t just pulled back the curtain. He’s brought up the house lights and waved to the audience. And he did it all, according to the New York Times, because he got sort of annoyed. Read More »

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Futurism on Wheels, and Other News

July 1, 2014 | by

soviet concept car

The Torpedo-GAZ, from 1951—a Soviet concept car with a tubular duraluminum skeleton. Via io9.

  • The nineteenth century “had its own explosion of media … Much as with today’s web, people complained there was too much to read … The solution to overload? For tens of thousands of Americans, it was the scrapbook.”
  • Authors turn to pseudonyms for a number of reasons—some strange, some prosaic, some almost metaphysical. In Sarah Hall’s case, the problem was another Sarah Hall: “I could never be published as me. Someone had got there first … my agent reminded me, gently: ‘I really don’t think you can be Sarah Hall.’”
  • An interview with Jeff Sharlet, whose new book looks at religion in America: “In nine out of ten cases ‘spirituality’ is a con—not a con by the person invoking it, but a con on that person. It offers the illusion of individual choice, as if our beliefs, or our rejection of belief, could be formed in some pure Ayn Randian void … We’re caught up in a great, complicated web of belief and ritual and custom. That’s what I’m interested in, not the delusion that I’m some kind of island.”
  • “It felt like the water was rising and lapping just under my nose … I really began to wonder whether my career was over.” Classical musicians contend with stage fright.
  • Soviet concept cars from the fifties and sixties show what might have been, had futurism held its grip on the national imagination—these sleek, modular vehicles are a striking counterpoint to the American cars of the era.

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J. K. Rowling’s Party is Over, and Other News

July 15, 2013 | by

cuckooscalling

  • By now, you are probably aware that J. K. Rowling wrote detective novel The Cuckoo’s Calling under the guise of Robert Galbraith, an ex-military family man. Quoth she, “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”
  • Can’t imagine what anyone would stand to gain by revealing the truth behind the modest seller.
  • The publishers who turned the novel down are, of course, kicking themselves.
  • Related: a brief history of the pseudonym.
  • For your alienated youngster: My First Kafka.
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    Kent Johnson’s / Araki Yasusada’s / Tosa Motokiyu’s “Mad Daughter and Big-Bang”

    May 6, 2013 | by

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    Pen names have long been a means for writers to inhabit another identity—to attain privacy, assume the acceptably literate gender, or play with the freedom of a psychic unburdening. But at what point does a pseudonym become obfuscation, transgression? What happens when a poem of witness—a poem set in the aftermath of the August 6, 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, a poem more compelling than many of its peers for its haunting, even oblique and morbid surrealist humor—is in fact written by a middle-aged white community college professor named Kent Johnson, rather than a hibakusha, or actual Hiroshima survivor?

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    Kim Jong-Un’s First Speech, Interpreted as Doggerel

    May 16, 2012 | by

    On April 15, Kim Jong-Un, the new leader of North Korea, gave his long-awaited maiden speech, on the hundredth anniversary of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, the country’s founder. Befitting the occasion, enormous crowds attended, and male and female soldiers marched with goose-stepping precision.

    North Korea-watchers considered it an important moment to gauge the new leader, and he did not disappoint, celebrating the particular take on history that distinguishes North Korea from all other nations.

    A full transcript has just been provided by a North Korean website, but for the readers of The Paris Review, a condensed version has been prepared, in poetic form.
    Read More »

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