Monday, September 14, 2020

Monday, September 14, 2020 10:45 am by Cristina in , ,    No comments
We quite disagree with the premise of this BBC article which claims that 'women writers have often chosen to publish their work using a pseudonym'. It makes it sound whimsical when it isn't.
But even that single contemporary example cracks open how thorny this issue is: Rowling’s choices were not just about sexism, but also about a desire for anonymity, and the crafting of a new identity. 
And that is almost always the case – it’s rarely so simple as just the bad sexism keeping a good woman down. Perversely, assuming it is so actually perpetuates vague, muddled notions that, historically, only a few women ever managed to break through, and did so by pretending to be men – think George Eliot, the Brontës. (Holly Williams)
True, but why couldn't an identity be veiled behind a feminine name instead of a masculine name? Because they knew and they know that they won't be taken as seriously. Charlotte Brontë said it much better:
Averse to personal publicity, we veiled our own names under those of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell; the ambiguous choice being dictated by a sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we did not like to declare ourselves women, because -- without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what is called "feminine"-- we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice; we had noticed how critics sometimes use for their chastisement the weapon of personality, and for their reward, a flattery, which is not true praise.
Daily Mail carries the story of Ponden Hall being for sale. AnneBrontë.org has a post on 'The Old Apothecary, Laudanum And The Brontës'.

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