Anonymity in publishing
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Throughout the history of literature, since the creation of bound texts in the forms of books and (initially) codices, various works have been published anonymously, often due to their political or controversial nature. This is a list of literary works published anonymously, either attributed to "Anonymous", or with no specific author's name given. For works where a pseudonym was used, see instead the list of works published under a pseudonym.
It should be noted that not included in this list are works which predate the advent of publishing and general attribution of authorship, such as ancient written inscriptions (such as heiroglyphic or pictographical, transcribed texts), certain historical folklore and myths of oral traditions now published as text, and reference or plain texts (letters, notes, graffiti) recovered archaeologically, which are otherwise unimportant to literary studies. Religious texts and grimoires, which are often written anonymously, may appear, along with works initially witten anonymously whose author is now known.
Works predating the Common Era
Ancient Mesopotamian works
- Sumerian city laments
- Debate between bird and fish
Ancient Egyptian works
- Cantar de Mio Cid
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
- The Second Shepherds' Play
- "Enchiriadis" texts
- The Battle of Maldon
- Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan
- Gesta Hungarorum
- The Secret History of the Mongols
- St. Erkenwald
- The pasquinades (satirical poems) glued to the Talking Statues of Rome. They still appear from time to time.
- The Skibby Chronicle, an anonymous Danish Latin chronicle from the 1530s.
- La Farce de maître Pierre Pathelin (The Farce of Master Pierre Pathelin) popular French medieval farce
- Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, published anonymously at the time, now considered likely to have been written by Francesco Colonna.
- The Voynich manuscript, authorship and meaning unknown.
The first classic of modern erotic literature, L'École des filles of 1655 -- like so many similar works after it -- was published anonymously. Anonymous pamphlets played an important role in the political culture of eighteenth century France. In Forbidden Bestsellers Robert Darnton points out that some of the most radical printed texts of the Enlightenment had no author. "They were the public discussing. They expressed the on dit, or talk of the town. Pierre Marteau for instance, was one of those clandestine publishers.
- An Essay on the Principle of Population by T.R. Malthus, originally published anonymously
- Anti-Machiavel, an essay by Frederick the Great, originally published anonymously
- Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin, originally published anonymously
- The Sorrows of Yamba
- The Animated Skeleton
- The Cavern of Death
- A Brief Inquiry Into the Natural Rights of Man
- Tamerlane and Other Poems was the first published collection of poems by Edgar Allan Poe, published anonymously in 1827.
- A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder by James De Mille, originally published anonymously after the author's death.
- The Log-Cabin Lady: An Anonymous Autobiography
- The Princess Ilsée: A Fairy Tale (London: Saunders, Otley, and Co., 1867), illust. by Eugène Froment
- Supernatural Religion: An Inquiry into the Reality of Divine Revelation (Longmans & Co.: London, 1874)
- Democracy published in 1880, author (Henry Adams) revealed after his death in 1918.
- Romance of Lust, Victorian erotic novel published anonymously in four volumes (1873-1876) and variously attributed to Edward Sellon or William Simpson Potter, although a stronger case can be made for Potter as the author.
- Elizabeth and Her German Garden, published anonymously in 1898, a humorous semi-autobiographical idyll, the first book by Elizabeth von Arnim. Her later books were published as "By the author of Elizabeth and her German Garden".
- The Way of a Pilgrim Russian
- The Autobiography of a Flea erotic novel published in 1901.
- The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, the story of a young biracial man, was published anonymously in 1912 by James Weldon Johnson who revealed himself as the author in 1927.
- The Diary of a U-boat Commander ~1918
- Go Ask Alice, now known to have been written by Beatrice Sparks.
- A Woman in Berlin, an anonymous diary detailing experiences of a German woman as Germany is defeated in World War II.
- Primary Colors, published anonymously but later revealed to be by journalist Joe Klein.
- Fighting for Our Lives, an anarchist primer published by the CrimethInc collective. All CrimethInc publications are published anonymously.
- The Bride Stripped Bare, an erotic novel published in 2003; soon after, the author was revealed as the Australian writer Nikki Gemmell.
- Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama Bin Laden, Radical Islam and the Future of America (2003) and Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror (2004) - both revealed to have been written by former CIA employee Michael Scheuer.
- Recipes for Disaster (2004) - An Anarchist Cookbook published by the CrimethInc collective.
- Rolling Thunder (2005-2008) - five issues of "an anarchist journal of dangerous living" published the CrimethInc collective.
- Houston remains Anonymous (2008) - 
- Real Life Ren-Gate: Christy Carlson Romano, Censorship, and the Threat to Her Unofficial Fan Sites During the Age of Web 2.0 (2008) - ISBN: 978-0-557-01475-0. An anti-copyright publication on the discouragement from the official sites of Christy Carlson Romano toward fan transformative works under "fair use" doctrine.