Big news from the New York Times this weekend! Oh, maybe not the news you’re thinking of. A totally different outcome of deep investigative reporting that excavated long-held secrets…
they’ve announced the unmasking of Elena Ferrante, author of the Neopolitan Quartet of novels.
Whether or not the name Elena Ferrante rings any bells with you, her work has become wildly popular worldwide, which I suppose is what made her a target ripe for unmasking. The fact that there is no “Elena Ferrante” — that this is a pseudonym — was not a secret. But an investigative journalist decided that the true identity of this author was something readers needed to know, and now they know it.
I haven’t linked to the actual article for several reasons:
- I have deep misgivings about it.
- Why give them the clicks?
- The name isn’t likely to mean anything to the average person (this is hardly a Robert Galbraith situation), so what’s the point of knowing it?
- Plus, if you really really care, the simplest of Google searches will do the job
As an author who writes under a pseudonym, this bothers the heck out of me. Not because I think this means I’m about to be unmasked by investigative reporting in a major American newspaper and the international press. No, there are already dozens if not hundreds of people who know what other name I write under, and plenty of connections between my two identities, so the “investigation” could probably be conducted and completed in the time it takes to watch an episode of “Seinfeld,” plus no one would care once the truth were “revealed”, so what would the point be?
I’m troubled by this because it seems to indicate that authors’ identities a) matter and b) belong to the world.
Do our identities matter?