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Category: literary baby names

rudyardk

By Sara

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same….

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

——-Rudyard Kipling

I like to think that if Rudyard Kipling had provided some baby-naming insight from beyond the grave, he would have added a stanza to his poem “If” saying something like, “If you can name your baby Rudyard, you’re going to get asked a lot of questions.”

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maya2

By Erin Waldron

This past week, America said a sad goodbye to one of the most beautiful and influential voices of our time when poet, author, educator, actress, director, and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou passed away on May 28. While we mourn her loss and reflect on her countless accomplishments and the extraordinary life she lived, here are just a few ideas for those who may consider honoring Dr. Angelou‘s legacy for a 2014 baby. If you are expecting a new addition this year, would you choose any of the following for your child’s first or middle name spot? I would love to hear more of your suggestions in the comments.

Marguerite: This is Maya Angelou‘s birth name, which was shortened to “Maya” as a nickname from her older brother. Marguerite, the French form of Margaret, has been off the charts since 1970, but is on the verge of a comeback, currently at Number 406 in Nameberry.

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ibsen2

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Last week was the birthday of Henrik Ibsen, the towering nineteenth century Norwegian playwright and poet who was one of the founders of Modernism in the theater.  Known for his realistic exploration of controversial social issues, his plays A Doll’s House  and Hedda Gabler are considered feminist landmarks.

Ibsen‘s twenty-six frequently produced plays are populated by a wide range of characters.  Those listed below offer an interesting selection of Norwegian names of that period (though a few are imports from other cultures), from the familiar (Ingrid, Nora, Finn) to those that are less known.

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quirkychara

By Linda Rosenkrantz

If you’re looking for a really unusual name, you might not have to look any further than your nearest library.

What follows is a melange of quirky character names—a mix of word names, surname names, nickname names, invented names–found in modern literature.  To keep it from going on into infinity, I’ve limited the list to mainstream twentieth century novels and plays, avoiding for the most part the often bizarre nomenclature of sci-fi and other genre lit.

Alivina Houghton, The Lost Girl, D. H. Lawrence

Amaranta Ursula, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Marquez

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why?atticus

By Linda Rosenkrantz

It always strikes me as somewhat curious when a name that has been hidden in plain sight for decades—or longer—attached to a significant literary or real life character will suddenly pop into the zeitgeist and take off.  Sometimes the contributing factors are obvious—sharing with a more recent celebrity (looking at you, Ms Johansson) or its discovery by the parents of a starbaby.  And sometimes, it just remains a mystery.

Some prominent examples:

AtticusThe Harper Lee novel To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960, and the movie, starring Gregory Peck as principled lawyer and role-model dad Atticus Finch, was released two years later. Between then and now, the book has been a mainstay of English class curricula, working its way into the collective consciousness of future baby namers, while Atticus Finch was voted the greatest hero of American film by the AFI.

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