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The fantasy author James Oliver Rigney Jr. chose the nom de plume Robert Jordan for many of his works of literature, including the magnificent Wheel of Time series.

I recently read up on Ernest Hemingway's novel For Whom the Bell Tolls and discovered that its hero, a fictional US soldier fighting in the Spanish Civil War, is named Robert Jordan. Instantly I wondered if there was any connection. The Wikipedia page for the author has a footnote mentioning the character, but gives no citation (in fact, doesn't even state explicitly) that the two are linked.

Did the fantasy author choose his pen name after the Hemingway character?

  • Note: the footnote in that Wikipedia article now has a cited clarification, which was inspired by the answer below and didn't exist when I posted this question. The dates and history will confirm that this question was answered here before Wikipedia :-) – Rand al'Thor Aug 15 '17 at 19:44
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Unfortunately he did not, though it's a great thought!

According to this excerpt from a 1997 interview he did on the DragonCon SciFi Channel Chat (yah, before the name change):

ISHAMAEL

What made you decide on Robert Jordan as your pseudonym? Is it Hemingway?

ROBERT JORDAN

No, it wasn't Hemingway. I simply wanted to separate the different kinds of books that I wrote with different names, and I made lists of names with my real initials and picked one name from one list and one from another, and Robert Jordan was one of the names that popped out.

  • 1
    Thanks, good find! (Now someone should go and edit that Wikipedia page ...) – Rand al'Thor Jan 29 '17 at 2:42
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    Fun fact: he chose all his pseudonyms using this trick with the initials. – Rand al'Thor Jan 30 '17 at 2:27
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    @Randal'Thor Wikipedia edit made =) – heather Aug 15 '17 at 19:21

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