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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that the discourses, understandings, and practices surrounding the attribution of literary works changed significantly during the Romantic period. It examines the wide range of attribution styles that were available in the period, including the use of initials, phrases such as ‘by a Lady’, invented names such as Malachi Malagrowther (Walter Scott), and the formula ‘by the author of’. Drawing on a quantitative analysis of the bibliographical record, it shows how the popularity of anonymous publication shifted during the period in different ways for novels and poetry volumes. These changes were bound up with the emergence of modern celebrity culture. The chapter suggests that celebrity, anonymity, and pseudonymity were not opposed to one another, but were complexly intertwined, so that anonymity could be a form of celebrity and (paradoxically) celebrity could be a form of anonymity.

Keywords: celebrity, anonymity, pseudonymity, authorship, paratexts, print culture, reception, readership

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