Wordplay Wednesday – pseudonyms

A pseudonym is a fictious name that a person assumes for a particular purpose. The prefix ‘pseudo’ means false. A person’s true or original name is their orthonym. Pseudonyms can be used for any purpose such as to hide gender or race.

Here are some examples of writers who have taken on a pseudonym (also referred to as a nom de plume) followed by their orthonym:
Acton Bell – Anne Bronte
Boz – Charles Dickens
Currer Bell – Charlotte Bronte
Dr. Seuss – Theodor Seuss Geisel
Ellis Bell – Emily Bronte
George Eliot – Mary Ann Evans
George Orwell – Eric Arthur Blair
John le Carré – David John Moore Cornwell
Lemony Snicket – Daniel Handler
Lewis Carroll – Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
Mark Twain – Samuel Langhorne Clemens
Saki – Hector Hugh Monro
Silence Dogood – Benjamin Franklin

In Ancién Regime France, Noms de Guerre were adopted by new recruits as they enlisted in the French Army. These names had an official character and were the predecessors of identification numbers. Noms de guerre were later adopted by the Resistance during the Second World War for security reasons. Here are some examples of noms de guerre you may recognise:
Strongbow – Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
The Red Baron (pseudonym created by cartoonist Charles Schulz) – Manfred von Richthofen
Carlos the Jackal – Illich Ramirez Sanchez

Politicians may adopt or be given pseudonyms:
An Craoibhín Aoibhinn – Douglas Hyde
Che Guevara – Ernesto Rafael Guevara de la Serna
Chemical Ali – Ali Hassan Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti
Joseph Stalin – Ioseb Bessarionis dze Djugashvili
Leon Trotsky – Lev Davidovich Bronstein
Pol Pot – Saloth Sar
Vladimir Lenin – Vladimir Illich Ulyanov

When actors and singers take on a pseudonym it is often called a stage name. Here are the orthnyms of some actors and singers. Do you know their stage names?
David Robert Jones
Carlos Irwin Estévez
Reginald Dwight
Curtis Jackson
Robert Zimmerman
Paul Hewson
Lee Yuen Kam
Archibald Leach
Quentin Norman Cook
Shawn Corey Carter
Marion Morrison
Brian Warner