Allusionist 98. Alter Ego

Today: three pieces about alter egos, when your name - the words by which the world knows you - is replaced by another for particular purposes.

  • How did John Doe come to be the name for a man, alive or dead, identity unknown or concealed in a legal matter? Strap in for a whirlwind ride into some frankly batshit centuries-old English law.

  • At their first bout of the 2019 season, the London Roller Girls talk about how they chose their roller derby names - or why they chose to get rid of one.

  • The 1930s and 40s were a golden age for detective fiction, which was also very popular and lucrative. Yet writing it was disreputable enough for authors to hide behind pseudonyms.

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Allusionist 15: Step Away

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'Step-', as in stepparents or stepchildren, originated in grief. Family structures have evolved, but are stepmothers now so tainted by fairytale associations with the word 'wicked' that we need new terminology? Lore's Aaron Mahnke stops by to describe the lovelessness, literary tropes and life expectancy around 'step-'.

ADDITIONAL READING:

On Tuesday 4th August 2015 at 8pm UK time, 3pm ET, 12pm PT, I'll be doing a live discussion about this episode at spoken.am. Please come along to tell me what you think, divulge about your own steprelatives, and to ask me anything about the show.

Go to spoken.am to request your invite* and I'll see you there, yes? (Or you can catch up afterwards, if you must.)

UPDATE: Now that we are living in the post-live chat era, you can catch up at spoken.am/allusionist/step-away

*My school English teacher used to HATE people using 'invite' as a noun. I feel both guilty and slyly delighted to have done so just now.

This episode was sponsored by HelloFresh, who'll deliver fresh, healthy meal kits to your door. And they've got very tasty special offers for you Allusionist listeners in the USA if you visit hellofresh.com/allusion.

MAILCHIMP'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
emolument

CREDITS:

Back in a fortnight. Don't let anyone turn you into a pumpkin in the meantime.

- HZ

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.