Henri Beyle, the famous French writer chose as his penname Stendhal. Yes, as you hear it: French pronunciation, not German. In spite of what is commonly believed, it’s not certain that he borrowed his pseudonym from the German city of Stendal in honour of Johann Joachim Winckelmann, an archaeologist born there. According to some Stendhal scholars, the name is the anagram of Shetland, the Scottish islands. A place Stendhal loved very much. At a certain point, anyway, even Stendhal himself didn’t know how to pronounce properly his name, that’s why the French way prevailed.
(January 29, 2008)