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Baby Names from Books: Authors’ Picks

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Recently, the London newspaper The Independent published the results of a survey they did asking one hundred British literary figures–including such leading lights as Maeve Binchy, Tracy Chevalier, Cynthia Ozick, David Lodge, AS Byatt and Ken Follett— to name their favorite fictional characters, “the characters who gave them the greatest reading pleasure.”

It was pretty interesting to see how the source books correlated with the choosers’ own works—probably no surprise that Ken Follett found early inspiration from James Bond, and Michael Connelly was influenced by Philip Marlowe. (To check out the  full story, including which writers picked which characters, visit the website of The Independent.)

Here are some of the noteworthy character names that they came up with:

Antonia Shimerdas, My Antonia by Willa Cather

Arturo Gerace, Arturo’s Island by Elsa Morante

Bathsheba Everdene, Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Ebenezer le Page, The Book of Ebenezer le Page by G. B. Edwards

Elinor Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Flora Poste, Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Godwin Peak, Born in Exile by George Gissing

Haroun, Haroun and the Sea Stories by Salman Rushdie

Harriet M. Welsch, Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Horatia Winwood, The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë

Joachim Ziemssen, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann

Julien Sorel, The Red and the Black by Stendhal

Leopold Bloom, Ulysses by James Joyce

Lorelei Lee, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos

Louisa Pollett, The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead

Lyra Silvertongue, His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman

Maisie Farange, What Maisie Knew by Henry James

Milo Minderbender, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

Molly Bloom, Ulysses by James Joyce

Nigel Molesworth, series by Geoffrey Willans

Oskar Schell, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer; Oskar Matzerath, The Tin Drum by Günther Grass

Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler detective

Rhett Butler, Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Rupert Campbell-Black, Riders by Jilly Cooper; Rupert Psmith, the Jeeves books by P.G. Wodehouse

Zazie, Zazie in the Metro by Raymond Queneau

Zeno Cosino, Confessions of Zeno by Italo Svevo

What’s your favorite name of a literary character?

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