Some of the greatest works in English literature were first published without their authors' names. Why did so many authors want to be anonymousand what was it like to read their books without knowing for certain who had written them? In Anonymity, John Mullan gives a fascinating and original history of hidden identity in English literature. From the sixteenth century to today, he explores how the disguises of writers were first used and eventually penetrated, how anonymity teased readers and bamboozled criticsand how, when book reviews were also anonymous, reviewers played tricks of their own in return.
Today we have forgotten that the first readers of Gulliver's Travels and Sense and Sensibility had to guess who their authors might be, and that writers like Sir Walter Scott and Charlotte Brontë went to elaborate lengths to keep secret their authorship of the best-selling books of their times. But, in fact, anonymity is everywhere in English literature. Spenser, Donne, Marvell, Defoe, Swift, Fanny Burney, Austen, Byron, Thackeray, Lewis Carroll, Tennyson, George Eliot, Sylvia Plath, and Doris Lessingall hid their names. With great lucidity and wit, Anonymity tells the stories of these and many other writers, providing a fast-paced, entertaining, and informative tour through the history of English literature.
|Publisher:||Princeton University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
John Mullan is professor of English at University College London and the author of How Novels Work. A broadcaster and journalist as well as an academic, he has been described as having "a scholar's knowledge worn with a journalist's lightness of touch." He writes a weekly column on contemporary fiction for the Guardian newspaper.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Mischief 9
Chapter 2: Modesty 41
Chapter 3: Women being men 76
Chapter 4: Men being women 114
Chapter 5: Danger 138
Chapter 6: Reviewing 181
Chapter 7: Mockery and devilry 217
Chapter 8: Confession 254
Chapter 9: Epilogue 286
What People are Saying About This
A great book. Mullan's historical reach and subtle eye equip him to write a witty, and incisive, biography of Anonymous.
Nicholas Dames, Columbia University
"Mullan shows how literary anonymity excites its oppositecuriosity, controversy, conflict, and notoriety. Anonymity is accessible, thorough, and interesting."Sophie Gee, author of The Scandal of the Season: A Novel
Mullan shows how literary anonymity excites its oppositecuriosity, controversy, conflict, and notoriety. Anonymity is accessible, thorough, and interesting.
Sophie Gee, author of "The Scandal of the Season: A Novel"