“I am always uncertain whether or not I see a real or an assumed signature”: David Lyndsay, Mary Diana Dods and Walter Sholto Douglas 

David Lyndsay was the pseudonym of the author born Mary Diana Dods, and who from 1827 lived as Walter Sholto Douglas.   Details about their life are patchy. It was the researcher Betty T. Bennett, editor of Mary Shelley’s letters who first made the connection between Dods, Lyndsay and Douglas in the 1980s. Bennett’s research at […]

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“Out of obscurity I came – to obscurity I can easily return”: Charlotte Brontë, Currer Bell and Jane Eyre

The use of pseudonyms by the Brontë sisters is perhaps one of the best known examples of the use of pen names in English literature. This post focusses on Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855), whose novel ‘Jane Eyre’ was published 175 years ago in October 1847. It was Charlotte who persuaded her sisters to submit their writing […]

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A potted history of pen names

A pen name is a literary alias: a variation of a writer’s birth or married name or a completely invented pseudonym. The Library’s exhibition ‘Pen Names’ takes a thematic approach to the subject, looking at how factors such as privacy, gender, reputation, authenticity, and genre have influenced writers’ decision to use a pen name from […]

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Sunset Song is now available to read on our website

We have just made available all the books published by James Leslie Mitchell (1901-1935) during his lifetime on our website. Included are the three novels he published under the pseudonym Lewis Grassic Gibbon namely “Sunset Song” (1932); “Cloud Howe” (1933) and “Grey Granite” (1934) which are collectively known as “A Scots Quair”. http://digital.nls.uk/lewis-grassic-gibbon-books You can […]

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The Rankin Files

It all began a few years ago, when representatives of the Library sat down with renowned crime writer Ian Rankin to discuss the acquisition of his extensive literary archive. Fast-forward to September 2019, when I took up the post of Ian Rankin Project Curator, tasked with the arrangement, cataloguing, and promotion of this incredible collection […]

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The pleasure of reading

Antonia Fraser describes herself as an ‘addict’ of the written word. In this revealing book, she brings together more than forty leading writers (writing in the English language) of all ages and from backgrounds a diverse as possible, to explain what inspired their interest in books and what keeps them reading. First published in 1992, […]

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Why not Catch-21?

(Photo credit: Frances Lincoln) (Image above shows the front cover of a book sitting on a book shelf surrounded by other books. The title and author of the book, Why not catch-21? The stories behind the title. Gary Dexter, are shown) Most book titles simply describe the contents of the book they are attached to. […]

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