Chopsticks by Arthur de Lulli, the Pseudonym of Euphemia Allen

Euphemia Allen is said to be a girl who, when about 16 years old, registered the musical composition we know as “Chopsticks” under the male name Arthur de Lulli in 1877 as “”The Celebrated Chop Waltz”. Euphemia’s exact birth date is not known so if she was indeed 16 in 1877, she was born in 1861 or 1862.

She is also said to be the sister of “Mozart Allen.” We have no idea who he is. The only thing we could find out was there was a Scottish music publishing concern named Mozart Allen Co. Was Mozart Allen also a pseudonym, or was it two people? We don’t know. But can you imagine liking Chopsticks less if you knew the composer was a girl, and a kid at that?

Euphemia Name Meaning and Nicknames

It is pretty well known that women often published their works under male names in past centuries. Parlor Songs has an article about woman composers, explaining how many of these talented ladies’ names have been lost forever, because their works were published either with pseudonyms or named only by the city they hailed from.

The same is true of the literary world. Of course, we have these well-known examples:

In 1859, Mary Anne Evans published her first novel, Adam Bede, under the pen name George Eliot and continued to use the pen name even after her true identity was revealed.

Charlotte Bronte explained why she and her sisters, Anne and Emily, used male pseudonyms, each picking one with the first letter of their given names:

Averse to personal publicity, we veiled our own names under those of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell; the ambiguous choice being dictated by a sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we did not like to declare ourselves women, because — without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what is called ‘feminine’ -– we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice; we had noticed how critics sometimes use for their chastisement the weapon of personality, and for their reward, a flattery, which is not true praise.

In 1832, Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin published her first novel, Indiana. under the pseudonym George Sand.

These women, as Charlotte Bronte pointed out, wanted their works to be judged on their own merits. They would all probably all be quite surprised to know that this practice has continued to the present day.

In 1937, Danish author Karen von Blixen-Finecke published “Out of Africa” using the pen name Isak Dineson.

When popular romance novelist Nora Roberts wanted to branch out into detective fiction, she used the gender neutral pseudonym J.D. Robb, since her publisher feared her popularity in the romance genre would affect sales.

When Joanne Rowling was advised by her publisher that a male pseudonym would make her Harry Potter books more appealing to boys, she had to select a middle initial since she has no middle name, and published as J.K. Rowling. Apparently, she doesn’t have an aversion to just outright using a male name — she has also published under the name Robert Galbraith.

There’s no telling how many works from the past were really written by women, now, is there?

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