On Pseudonymity

Bad Duplicate

A decade ago, before the rise of the Web, there wasn't a lot of scholarly research on pseudonymity. Almost none. I know this because I dealt with journalistic pseudonymity in some detail in my dissertation, and when in the early 1990s I went looking for stuff on the history of pseudonymity, I really didn't find much at all.

Strange, I thought, since pseudonymy was so central to the rise of the bourgeois public sphere. I needed to understand the historical context of newspaper pseudonymity as background to some literary questions, so I went hunting and spent a godawfully long time trying to piece together some information and make painfully simple inferences from primary sources. I thought I had some publishable surmises. Then by the time the Internet became popular, every senior scholar and his sister published a book on the topic within a year. Okay, not every senior scholar. But I got scooped and I'm bitter.

Here are a few random tidbits about 18c pseudonymity, gleaned from my rusty and resentful memory. . . .