Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ten great books by pseudonymous authors

At The Daily Beast Carmela Ciuraru, author of Nom de Plume: A Secret History of Pseudonyms, named ten great books written by pseudonymous authors.

One title on the list:
The Price of Salt
by Patricia Highsmith

A lesbian romance with a happy (or at least hopeful) ending was unheard of until The Price of Salt, a novel by Claire Morgan, appeared in 1952. The story of Therese, a clerk at a New York City department store, and Carol, the elegant, married woman whom she meets one day and falls in love with, was somewhat autobiographical. It was based on the author's own brief encounter with a beautiful blonde customer while working at a department store during the Christmas holidays. (In real life, however, no romance had occurred.) But "Claire Morgan" was actually the 31-year-old writer Patricia Highsmith, whose debut novel, Strangers on a Train, had been released two years earlier to great acclaim. The Price of Salt was nothing like the crime and suspense fiction that would make Highsmith so famous. Determined to avoid being labeled as a "lesbian" writer, she would not acknowledge her authorship until the 1990 U.K. edition of the novel appeared. The Price of Salt had been written in a fit of inspired passion. "It flowed from my pen as if from nowhere, beginning, middle and end," she recalled. "It took me about two hours, perhaps less."
Read about another novel on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue