Sunday, March 25, 2012

Also Known As (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)

Not just part of a great line on Glee, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy is also (first, primarily, mainly) a novel by John le Carre. A novel that was made into a mini series (in 1979) and, last year, a feature film starring Gary Oldham, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

While Tinker Tailor Solider Spy has been known by the same name in all three incarnations, the novel's author is known by a different name quite often; John le Carre is the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell.

He's not - by far - the only author to use a pseudonym, though. To go with the movie's release on March 20th, here's a feature that I got from Think Jam which is helping promote the movie (and since I thought it was lots of fun, I'm posting it!):



Things aren’t always as they seem in the Oscar®-nominated, suspenseful, and stylish thriller from director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In), based on the classic novel by John le Carré. At the height of the Cold War, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), a.k.a. MI6 and code-named the Circus, has been compromised.  An ever-watchful former top lieutenant and career spy, George Smiley (Gary Oldman, The Dark Knight, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ), is called out of retirement by the government to help identify and track a suspected mole at the top of the agency.  The list of suspects is narrowed to five men.  Even before the startling truth is revealed, the emotional and physical tolls on the players enmeshed in the deadly international spy game will escalate…

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy author may be known to his readers as his pen name John le Carre but he was born as David  John Moore Cornwell.  During the 1950s and 60s, he worked for the British Intellgience and thus began writing under the pseudonym “John le Carre.” In celebration of Tinker Tailor Soilder Spy’s DVD, Blu-ray and On-Demand release, we will look at other famous authors who have been known solely by their pen names, including Mark Twain, Lemony Snicket and Dr. Seuss.



Born on November 30, 1835, Samuel Langhorne is best known for writing American classics such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn under the pen name of Mark Twain. Twain used different pen names before he settled on “Mark Twain.”  The name derives from his history of working on Mississippi riverboats and the expression “by the mark twain” which means the water is 12 feet deep and it is safe for riverboats to pass.


Lemony Snicket is an American novelist best known for writing and appearing as a character in A Series of Unfortunate Events.  Born as Daniel Handler, Handler invented the name “Lemony Snicket” after researching for this first book The Basic Eight.  Handler wanted to receive material from organizations that he found “offensive or funny” but didn’t want to attach his real name to.  The name’s similarity to Jiminy Cricket is no coincidence as Handler saw him  “overly moralistic cheerful narrator who he despised.”  When writing A Series of Unfortunate Events, Handler, along with his editor, thought the books should be published under that character’s name, instead of his.


Theodor Seuss Geisel, or better known as Dr. Seuss, was an American writer, poet and cartoonist who wrote numerous children’s books.  During his lifetime, he published 46 children’s books, which often include imaginative characters and frequently used trisyllabic meter.  Though he often used Dr. Seuss as his pseudonym, he also used Theo LeSieg for books that he wrote but was illustrated by others.  In one instance, he used the pen name of Rosetta Stone.


Ayn Rand was born as Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum on February 2, 1905.  A Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright and screenwriter, she is best known for her two novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.  She also developed her own philosophical system, which she called Objectivism and after Atlas Shrugged, she turned to nonfiction writing by publishing her own magazines and essays that promoted her philosophy.  Rand was an advocate of reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected all forms for faith and religion. 


Eric Arthur Blair was best known under his pen name George Orwell.  A 20th century English novelist and journalist, Orwell’s better known for two of his dystopian novels – Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm.  Blair derived his pen name for his love of the River Orwell, which flows through Suffolk County in England.

I knew about Dr. Seuss and Lemony Snicket (for sure after reading Handler's book Why We Broke Up). I think I knew that the others - maybe not Orwell, though - were pen names, but I don't think I knew their real names so this was fun!

The Bronte sisters also had pen names (Anne was Acton, Emily was Ellis and Charlotte was Currer Bell) as did however many authors, etc that I'm either forgetting or don't know about yet.!

Any that you know of that aren't here?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Book Trailer Friday [@RandomHouse @TransworldBooks]

Beth Dorey-Stein's From the Corner of the Oval  - a tale of being the White House stenographer during the Obama administration will be ...