'If the archive is, according to Derrida, a site of revelation and concealment, so too is the pseudonym, the 'false' proper name used to sign and thereby guarantee the 'true' authenticity of original works. This paper concerns itself with the double possibilities of the true writer and the fake name instantiated by Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson's use of the pseudonym Henry Handel Richardson, and the concomitant economy of the secret and the disclosed in all that related to her authorial signature. Richardson's deployment of her male pseudonym (and the other signatures she used to distinguish and manage different literary labour) will be considered in the context of expatriate literary production and reception. This paper will suggest that where the masculine proper name was one way in which nineteenth century British women writers negotiated their literary marketplace, Richardson's pseudonym more particularly allowed her to mediate and control proliferating complexities of genre, mode and national identity.
Emerging from these material considerations, several other questions will be considered in light of Richardson's fiction, letters and autobiography. The question of pseudonym as a form of cross-gender disguise or performance and the attendant possibilities of female spectatorship/authorship will be addressed in light of Richardson's early naturalism and its relation to decadence and aestheticism.' (Author's abstract)