previous            A–Z            next

       John Murray


       **** ******

Closest of all to the truly random pseudonym is the name that is devised not from a word or even from letters, but from a sign or symbol. The standard symbol for anonymity is the asterisk (*). Asterisks, denoting sheer anonymity, can be somewhat more meaningful if they are at least indicate the number of letters in the bearer's real name. 
       Thus Olphar Hamst (writer of ‘Handbook for Fictitious Names’, 1898) had identified one **** ******, who wrote the ‘Letter to *, &c. on the Rev. W.L. Bowle’s strictures on the Life and writing of Pope’, purportedly by 'The Right Hon. Lord Byron' (1821), to be actually John Murray (1778-1843), son of John Murray, founder of the famous London publishing firm of his name.

Room, A. (1981), ‘Invented Names’, Naming Names, p.47

previous            A–Z            next