The Power of Pen Names

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At Lit Hub, Tobias Carroll explores the history of authors using pen names, and what happens when these pseudonyms take on their own persona:

Under the best conditions, they can add another wrinkle to certain literary works; under the worst, they can amplify already-problematic conditions. Personas can be a kind of alter ego; they’re also a kind of power. And, to paraphrase a fictional character, with that power comes the burden to use it responsibly.


Katie O'Brien is an English major at Cornell University, where she writes for kitsch magazine, DJs for a rock station, and complains about the cold. Find her on Twitter @abluekite. More from this author →