« Back
read.

Stranger than Fiction.

History is filled with writers who didn't just create characters in their novels, but who also created characters, ideas and challenged norms out of their own identity.

We know of Orwellian ideas about the future -- but perhaps they might be more accurately described as Blairite. George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair: Orwell the "anti-Communist" contrasting quite nicely with Eric Arthur Blair, the socialist militiaman.

The Brontë family were three sisters who reached the pinnacle of English literature with Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. They originally wrote under male pseudonyms to "gain legitimacy" in a male-dominated age: they were known as Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Lest we think this an anachronism, J.K Rowling did the same thing when her publisher told her to drop the Joanne in her first name to a grouping of her first and middle name.

Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto was thought to have changed his name to Pablo Neruda in honour of Czech poet Jan Neruda, who shared the same style despite living a world away.

Ayn Rand was Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum. Lewis Carroll was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Lu Xun was Zhou Shuren. Mark Twain was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Voltaire was François-Marie Arouet.

Perhaps the most wonderful thing these authors created wasn't their individual works but rather their collective legacy, embued in the names they chose to convey their ideas.

The most enduring characters these writers created may well have been themselves.

comments powered by Disqus