Author names, pseudonyms and baby names…

Posh has called her newborn daughter Harper Seven… Never underestimate the Beckhams; who’d have thought To Kill a Mockingbird was one of their favourite books? My own baby-naming task is coming up, and while I don’t have the celebrity or financial clout to allow my poor child to bribe the would-be bullies who would tease them for an ill-chosen moniker, I think a literary homage is quite a lovely idea. So, in my search of the perfect name, I’ve come across some rather interesting tidbits about authors and their pseudonyms (see below, thanks to Google).

Lewis Carroll aka Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
Author of The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, Reverend Dodgson was an English author, and also a mathematician, logician, Anglican clergyman, and photographer. His pseudonym was formed from the anglicised (English) version of his real name. Lewis was the anglicised form of Ludovicus, which is Latin for Lutwidge, and Carroll was the anglicised version of Carolus, which is Latin for Charles.

Richard Bachman aka Stephen King
That’s right! Even Stephen King had a pen name. Unsure his earlier or non-horror works would be popular with his real name on them, King invented Bachman. But after Bachman was discovered, King killed him off, er, issued a press release about Bachman’s “death” supposedly from “cancer of the pseudonym.”

George Eliot aka Mary Ann Evans
At the time novels written by men went over better than those written by women, so Evans assumed a man’s name to relate better with her readers.

O. Henry aka William Sydney Porter
It was Porter’s clever use of twist endings in his stories that made the term “O. Henry endings” popular.

Dr. Seuss aka Theodore Seuss Geisel
Geisel’s mother’s maiden name, Seuss, is technically pronounced to rhyme with “rejoice.”

Mark Twain aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens
A famous literary figure whose pen name is a nautical term.

Voltaire aka François-Marie Arouet
The name “Voltaire,” which he adopted in 1718 not only as a pen name but also in daily use, is an anagram of the latinized spelling of his surname “Arouet” and (again latinized) the first letters of the sobriquet “le jeune” (“the younger”): AROVET LI. (Eh, it’s all too complicated for me.)

So, I’m thinking Voltaire Seuss Crisp? It’s got quite a ring to it, no?

Lara Crisp, Managing Editor

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One thought on “Author names, pseudonyms and baby names…”

  1. Hmm, “Susanna Crisp” has quite a nice ring to it, don’t you think? 🙂 Or perhaps “Sophia”…

    When I was carrying my own daughter some of the names at the top of my list were “Louisa”, for Louisa May Alcott, and “Laura”, for Laura Ingalls Wilder, and “Verity”, after the heroine of my book The Shadowy Horses (who in turn was named for a lovely, if murdered, Agatha Christie character).

    One of the most humbling moments of my career was when a fan named her own daughter “Verity”, after my character. She’s gorgeous — you can see a picture of her here

    And this past spring at a book signing I signed a book for a beautiful young girl whose name was “Scout” — and I knew right away what book her mother took THAT from :-)!

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