The Anonymous Woman
A history of anonymity and why writers have sought it, as told by Brooke Magnanti, the real voice behind one of the 21st century's most famous anonymous texts, Belle de Jour's Diary of a London Call Girl. Brooke explores motivations for remaining masked and the lengths the anonymous have gone to in order to remain unnamed. She draws on her own experiences to reveal how the concept of anonymity has changed - and how both writers and readers have dealt with it. From life or death to trivial and bitchy, juggling open disclosure with the withholding of vital information, Brooke shows us that whilst we may not know their names, the anonymous have long shaped our worldview.
Some of the most celebrated female authors of all time were first published under a pseudonym. But was it modesty, convention, or to pique curiosity that led the likes of Jane Austen, the Brontes and George Eliot to assume alternative identities? Brooke takes a look at the writings and reputations of anonymous women, from canonical greats to sexual memoirs. And she draws on the reaction to her own experiences to explore the reader's fascination with unnamed women, considering the conflicts of being open and revealing, whilst keeping the ultimate secret.