I don't think anyone is saying that if you adore Jerome David Salinger and all his works, but you dislike his f & m names and you don't want to name your kid Holden, because let's face it, he's not that cool, or Zachary because it's too Biblical, and Zooey's too girlie for a boy, and you like Zoe for a girl but not that weird version, and Franny's just ugly, noone will pronounce Esmé the way you want to, and Phoebe's too popular, and Stradlater is just weird, Jane's too plain (and I can't remember more), but hey, there's Salinger! Wohoo! You can call him Sal! Her Sally! Yay! That's not a problem for me.
I think it's pretentious when people pick a name to look well read when they aren't. If you like the name Atticus, but don't like the book/haven't read it/think Cary Grant was cute, don't blooming tell me you named your child after Atticus Finch.
Sorry for that. It's late and I'm tired, but the nightfeed is about to happen so I'm still up...
I think it depends on the character/author. Gatsby, for instance, with the upcoming movie I expect to see a bunch of little Gatsby's running around in the near future. I would doubt that the parents have sat down and read the actual book. Though, again, who am I to make that judgment? Name popularity is a relatively mysterious thing. What makes a name likable to one person, doesn't necessarily make it likable for the same reasons to another. One person may like Atticus because of the literary connection, others may like it because it begins with an "A". Why were the character names chosen to begin with? What made Shakespeare choose Romeo and Juliet, what makes any author choose the names they choose to begin with. Like, John for example. Not every man named John was specifically named for the Johns in the bible.
I think literary names can seem pretentious in a downmarket sort of way, just like Paris or Chardonnay or Bentley. If the parent is a legitimate lover of books, or of France/champagne/stupid cars, that's one thing. If, however, they simply want to denote some kind of artificial, affected sensibility, that's pretentious. It's not necessarily an issue of class or education, but authenticity. For instance, a literary baby name on the child of a small-town librarian would not be pretentious; a literary baby name on the child of a WASPy Wall Street Yale grad who's only ever read Donald Trump's autobiography, however, would be pretentious for days.
Maybe I'm wrong on that, but that's what I've concluded thinking on it recently.
Actually, I love literary names, but I do tend to role my eyes when other people use them. I don't know if I would use a name, like Atticus, that's so closely tied to a literary character, even though it's a great name. I think I would be reluctant to use an overtly literary name because it would be so... expected? I don't know. That might be worse than pretentiousness.
As for flaunting my education and privilege in the faces of the unwashed masses - who cares what those plebes think? I want my kid's name to erase any doubt that he or she belongs to the elite, educated classes. I want his or her name to proclaim to the world, "My mother has massive student loan debt!"
^^that was a joke. Not the student loan debt, though. That part is true.
On a related note: I stood in line behind someone at the grocery store one day who called her kids Ebenezer and Ichabod. I think I may have visibly flinched.
I think it is only if its because they wanted to appear like they read it. If its been your favourite name for decades or its yours and Dh's favourite book and it hold memories then use it but otherwise it is pretentious
ELSE, and possibly regret that choice. The way I see it, are you more likely to regret picking a name you loved that isn't necessarily the best reflection on you socially, or a name you were 'meh' on but felt 'safe' with? (I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a safe name)
In enduring four years of high school, I've spent too much of my time worrying about what other people think, and I hate that. So I try to encourage people to basically say 'screw it' when it comes to this sort of thing, because I know where MY biggest regrets lie. It's more important to live the way you want to live, or in this case name the way you want to name, than it is for other people to approve of everything you do.
If I use Atticus it's not because I'm trying to be unique or special, it's because the name is special to me. Growing up the daughter of an English teacher in the 80s, the majority of the movies we owned were related to my mom's lesson plans. Because "To Kill A Mockingbird" has children as main characters, I was allowed to watch it as a 4 year old. It's one of the first non-cartoon movies I recall watching. Atticus is widely known as a great father-figure. Gregory Peck kinda reminded me of my dad because they were both dark headed. Now that my father is deceased, I'm not sure I can bring myself to name a son after him (would make me sad), but I think it would be great to name a son after a wonderful father-figure from my childhood. To me, Atticus is a name and character I grew up loving.
I can't say why everyone else suddenly likes it, but that's my story.
I honestly don't care if it gets more popular. To me that's a plus. I have an very unique and misspelled name, so my hope for my kids is that there's will be more recognizable. Having a rare name is overrated and annoying.
I'm sorry, but why make a distinction between being inspired by literature versus, say, a movie, a television program, an athlete, musician, or a long-forgotten relative who happened to have an interesting name? What does it matter? If it's truly meaningful to you, go for it, and forget worries of so-called pretentiousness.
I'd be happy to be called pretentious and have a daughter named after a Shakespearean heroine rather than dubbed trendy and have her share her name with one of the insufferable Kardashian clan.