Episode 4 of 5
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.
Anonymity can be valuable - a means of challenging an accepted view, of speaking out without reprisal. But it is a double-edged sword - anonymous commentary can also be brutal and malicious. Brooke explores the complicated relationships between anonymity, accountability and reputation.
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