RE: RARA-AVIS: son of last, for now, of weeding out

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 04 Jul 2001

Anthony wrote:

"I'll tell you why I still doubt it ... the Library of Congress lists ghost writers and other authors who are attributed to works that are copyrighted there and there's no mention of Craig Rice being an author of any works other than those directly attributed (it also lists who Craig really is as well)."

The pseudonym part on the copyright form is totally voluntary. So its not being listed is not absolute evidence that it is not a pseudonym. For instance, Anarchaos by Curt Clark is not a pseudonymous work according to the files at the Library of Congress. Neither is Ex Officio (AKA Power Play) by Thomas J. Culver. Some Tucker Coe books are admitted pseudonymous works, some aren't. Yet we know they are all works by Westlake. Most have been reprinted under his name and he admits to them all (unlike Block, he even admits to his softcore books, some of which are listed as pseudonymous, some not).

The same goes for Lawrence Block -- Paul Kavanagh is not isted as a penname on the card for Such Men Are Dangerous, but is for Not Comin' Home to You. And once you get into the softcore stuff that is attributed to these two authors, the accepted names are admitted pseudonyms, but few offer the name of the real author. Some offer a second pseudonym as the real author, like Jill Emerson really being Lawrence Josephson (Block was allegedly Joseph's son) in Block's case.

However, Anthony is right, its not being there is not negative proof that it was a pseudonym, either. It leaves the question open.

"Acknowledged fact would be Gypsy Rose Lee stating that Craig Rice wrote her books in a biography or correspondence between the two or a publisher's statement or a contract, etc., something stated first hand."

I've never looked up Rice in the files. It seems you have, Anthony. Have you also checked the COHM files? I have found telling info there
(assignment of copyrights, for instance) that was not contained in the other files.

As for documentaries getting it right, I have no real experience with the A & E ones, but I know of a few mistakes in other respected venues, as in PBS. For instance, when introducing Lou Reed in their History of Rock & Roll, they said his real name was Louis Firbank. This is also printed in several rock reference books. However, it's flat out wrong. Reed was born Lewis Alan Reed to Sidney and Toby Reed. As a matter of fact, this real name is on his early copyright forms. The fake name was traced to a joking answer to a letter in Creem magazine (anyone who's read the magazine knows the letter replies and photo captions are not to be taken seriously) which asked if "Lou Reed" was a pun on "Lurid." Creem replied, Yes, his real name is Louis "Butch" Firbank. PBS even interviewed Reed on camera. I wonder if they asked him about the name off camera. He probably confirmed it, just to be obnoxious. The same segment did not mention the real names, or even that they were not real names, of Alice Cooper and David Bowie; I think Iggy Pop's name was also left to stand.

So I guess the lesson is, always check your sources. In Rice's case I did an internet search. It seems there is a recent biography of her. According to the review I ran across, the biography argues against Rice having written the Lee books.


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