John Mullan is Professor of English at University College London. He has published widely on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, including How Novels Work (OUP). He is also a broadcaster and journalist and writes a weekly column on contemporary fiction for the Guardian.
Anonymity: A Secret History of English Literature by John Mullan is a fascinatingly rich and original study of why many of the greatest authors chose to publish their work anonymously.
John Mullan is Professor of English at University College London. He is the author of How Novels Work (OUP) and Sentiment and Sociability: The Language of Feeling in the Eightenth Century (OUP). He has published widely on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature.A broadcaster and journalist as well as an academic, he writes a weekly column on contemporary fiction for the Guardian.
This entertaining and informative book is not about the unknowable "anonymous," but the use of anonymity and pseudonymity by known authors. Noting that there is no simple or consistent set of rules--e.g., some authors would publish certain works anonymously and others under their name--Mullen (English, Univ. Coll. London) illustrates a variation on the use of anonymity. Thus, for instance, there is "mischief," as in the cases of Swift, Scott, and, more recently, Joe Klein, where the "anonymous" writer encourages speculation. There are others such as Lewis Carroll who were concerned about privacy rather than concealment. Mullen also includes those who preferred anonymity out of modesty or when there was an issue of danger, especially when authoring inflammatory works. He also treats the cases of women who wrote as men and men who wrote as women, as well as of the 19th-century practice of anonymous reviewing. Highly recommended.--T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah, GA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.