Anonymity: A Secret History of English Literature: 01/13/11
I spotted Anonymity: A Secret History of English Literature by John Mullan at the library right after I had been part of a couple interesting discussions on male vs. female authorship. What had come up in all the discussions was that it's not always easy to guess the sex of an author especially if the author is writing either anonymously or under a pen name. So in light of those online discussions, I checked out Mullan's book.
Each chapter covers a different reason for writing anonymously. The chapters include examples of authors who fall into the category being illustrated. There are lengthy notes and citations to back up the examples.
In fact I have to admit to being surprised by the scholarly nature of the book. The cover's light-hearted illustrations of all sorts of authors and the blurb in the dust-jacket set up an expectation of an informative but quick read. The book ended up requiring more time than I had budgeted.
Sometime when I have more time and I'm in the right mood to really think about the nature of authorship, pen names and anonymity, I would like to revisit the book. If you are interested in the topic and are considering reading the book yourself, I recommend you read the review posted on The Daily Waffle Blog (included below).