Category: baby names from books
Today we’re celebrating the natal day of William Shakespeare, and in his honor Â we thought that instead of reiterating the usual list of familiar major charactersâ€”Romeo and Juliet, Beatrice and Benedick et alâ€”weâ€™d pay our tribute to the Bard of Avon with the less obvious names of some of the more obscure, less Shakespearean-sounding characters.
The spirit of Francis Scott Fitzgerald Â is alive and well.Â In the baby name world, Gatsby is one of the new attention-grabbing names on the block.Â In the world of entertainment, there is the theater piece Gatz, and now thereâ€™s eager anticipation for the latest version of The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Lurmann and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Isla Fisher,which is Â scheduled to open at the end of the year.Â A propitious time, then, to look at the authorâ€™s approach to literary Â names.
Fitzgeraldâ€™s novels and stories are populated with people with ordinary names like Nick and Dick, with typical Jazz Age period choices such as Bernice and Rosalind and Marjorie for girls, Chester and Percy for men, and a number of sophisticated Princetonesque surnames. Â He played with name changes reflecting shifting identities as wellâ€”Jay Gatsby having been born James Gatz.
Would you believe that we recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of the publication of J. D. Salingerâ€™sÂ The Catcher in the Rye?Â To commemorate â€” a year after Salinger himself passed away at the age of 91 â€” hereâ€™s a look at the names of some of his protagonists:
Holden. Holden Caulfield is one of the twentieth centuryâ€™s iconic anti-heroes. A surname in origin, Holden derives from a little place in Lancashire, England, meaning â€śhollow valley.â€ť Salinger may well have chosen it because it sounds like â€śhold onâ€ť â€“ just as Holden wanted to do to preserve the innocence of children, as â€śthe catcher in the rye.â€ť Holden has been gradually rising in use in the US over the past twenty-five years, and is now ranked at Number 316.
Phoebe. Holdenâ€™s little sister. From the GreekÂ phoibos â€śbright, radiant,â€ť very appropriate for the character Holden idealizes. Phoebe is also the name of a Titaness â€“ a daughter of Uranus and Ge. It was not uncommon as a name in antiquity, and stumbled intoÂ The New Testament. In past centuries, Phebe was often the preferredÂ form. The best know Phoebe is recent years is Phoebe Buffay, inÂ Friends (followed by Phoebe Halliwell in Charmed). Ironically, it was the UK that felt Phoebe Buffayâ€™s influence greatest, with the name mushrooming in use virtually overnight. Â In 2009, it was in 23rd place in the UK â€” but falling. In the US, it has been steadily climbing since the late eighties but is still far from common.
Cool baby names today may reference celebrities, sure, but more and more parents are looking to fictional characters for inspiration when naming their children.
Based on nearly two million visits to Nameberry’s individual name pages over the past three months, we see these character names — from classic literature and futuristic fantasy, Old Hollywood films and modern animation — attracting big jumps in interest.
This is one cool baby names trend that makes sense.Â Fictional characters embody positive, uplifting qualities that their mortal counterparts often fall short on.Â And in the ever-broadening search for names with personal meaning, parents may find referencing a favorite book or film to be a perfect way to make an important style statement and give their child a namesake to look up to.
Here, the hottest character names on Nameberry right now:
There’s something unique about Southern names, with their smooshes of two girls’ names together, unusual nickname names and old-gentleman surname names, as well as classic appellationsÂ dating back to slave-naming traditions,Â that sets them apart fromÂ say, typically New England or Midwestern names.
So hereÂ are some interesting choices from books and plays by Southern writers about characters in Southern settings, from classics by George W. Cable and William Faulkner to more modern works like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Castaliaâ€”Allan Gurganus, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All