The anonymous author of O: A Presidential Novel was recently outed as former John McCain aide Mark Salter, a claim that has yet to be confirmed or denied by the author in question. Although there are many stories whose writers have been forgotten by history, countless political pamphlets whose authors declined to be identified, and many more that were safely published behind a pen name, there’s an unrivaled level of intrigue that accompanies deliberately anonymous novels and poetry. Here are ten more works of anonymously published fiction that ignited cultural curiosity and social reaction.
Published in 1465, this medieval French farce was an immediate success for its criticism of social manipulation and dishonesty within the newly emerging state structure. Widely performed as a play, the story’s absurdist elements include false insanity, unaccredited lawyers, and a disastrous court case that brings all five players together. Though the author of this extremely popular story remains unknown, it proved to be a huge influence on French theater, most notably in the works of Francois Rebelais.