Leading article: Doubting Thomas

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The Independent Online

According to a new biography, the late R S Thomas invented the "S" in his initials because as a young man he did not want to be confused with all the other "Ronald Thomases" in Wales.

This is a curious one. We are familiar with artists changing their names completely. We all know, by now, that Reginald Dwight, Robert Zimmerman and David Jones became Elton John, Bob Dylan and David Bowie respectively. But how many creative types (aside from actors looking for a quick way to bypass the Equity registration rules) have invented initials for themselves? A new surname implies a new identity, a creative liberation, etc. What can the artistic rationale behind a new middle name be?

But maybe the "Ogre of Wales" was on to something. Perhaps middle initials are more important than we tend to assume. After all, how different would our world be without a certain "Dubya" in the White House?

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