Famous female American Authors
Many famous authors throughout history have written under pseudonyms that became vastly more well known than the authors themselves — Charles Lutwidge Dodgson wrote under the pen name Lewis Carroll, Jozef Korzeniowski wrote under the pen name Joseph Conrad, Eric Arthur Blair wrote under the pen name George Orwell, Alisa Zinov’yevan Rosenbaum wrote under the pen name Ayn Rand, and Samuel Clemens wrote under the name Mark Twain. While some authors choose to write under a pen name as a form of artistic expression, many authors do so against their will. Authors will also use pseudonyms to conceal their true heritage or to conceal their true gender. In a world wrought with a history of sexism and gender inequality, female writers have hidden their true gender behind the veil of masculine pen names for centuries. Acknowledging that the most famous of these women found success even after abandoning their male pseudonyms shows just how outdated the sexist notion truly is. The following 10 female authors changed the world of literature forever and were able to do so even after revealing their true identities.
- : Prominent 19th century writer Louisa May Alcott began her career under the male pen name A. M. Barnard. While her most famous work, Little Women, was published under her real name, she gained considerable notoriety as Barnard in the mid 1860s. During a period in American history when female writers were taken less seriously than male writers, Alcott decided to publish her works either under her assumed male identity or anonymously. Poverty and war forced Alcott to work at a young age. While she performed jobs as a teacher and domestic helper, Alcott also earned money for her family as a writer for Atlantic Monthly. Alcott published short sensational stories for the newspaper under the pen name Barnard. Later, however, Alcott became a voice for women’s suffrage and civil rights. Achieving great success as a female writer in a male dominated world, Alcott is a revolutionary icon in both the literary world and the realm of gender equality.
- : More widely known by her male pen name George Eliot, Evans was a prominent author and journalist during the Victorian Era. Evans entered the literary world as George Eliot with her essay, "Silly Novels by Lady Novelists, " which criticized the work being done by women writers at the time. Evans published this under the male pseudonym in order to distance herself from the female romance novelists of the time and to ensure that her works were taken seriously. After her first novel, Adam Bede, was published in 1859 and reviewed positively by critics, Evans revealed her true (female) identity to the world. Her true identity had little effect on the critiques of her work and she continued to publish under her widely known pen name. Eliot’s novel Middlemarch has long withstood the test of time and remains one of the most highly regarded novels in history.
- : It was not known publicly that James Tiptree was the pen name of American author Alice Bradley Sheldon until ten years before her death. Sheldon adopted the male pseudonym to gain better recognition in the male dominated literary genre of science fiction and to distance herself from her past writings. Tiptree proved to...
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