Literary Baby Names: Your Hidden Gems?

Our Question of the Week

Literary baby names is the subject of today’s Question of the Week.

A while back, we asked our members to nominate their favorite literary baby names for boys and girls. In amongst the usual suspects, like Harry and Huckleberry, there were some hidden gems: from Dagny and Djuna to Cavalier and Cyrano.

So, today we’re asking for your favorite lesser-known literary names.  They might belong to characters, authors, or even fictional kingdoms and cultures, like Florin from The Princess Bride or Eldar from Tolkien’s legendarium.

Hit us with your best suggestions! We’d love to hear some totally new-to-us names.

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18 Responses to “Literary Baby Names: Your Hidden Gems?”

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Greyblue Says:

July 24th, 2019 at 1:14 am

Ginevra is my favourite literary name! From Chatlotte Brontë’s Villette!
I also like Hareton from Wuthering Heights, Sholto from North and South, Elsinore inspired by Hamlet, Keats as in the poet and Alcott (as in Louisa May Alcott) – espcially with the nn Lottie

hanmay Says:

July 24th, 2019 at 2:07 am

I don’t know if it’s a hidden gem, but Arrietty from The Borrowers is so unique and sweet!

Emma Margaret Says:

July 24th, 2019 at 7:13 am

I think the name Lyra (His Dark Materials series) has stuck the most with me!

beynotce Says:

July 24th, 2019 at 8:47 am

I looove literary names, but here are few I think are underappreciated:

Aravis from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I never would have thought this was wearable, but then I met an Aravis, and she totally pulled it off!

Lowen from Verity by Colleen Hoover. The book is not exactly highbrow (it’s an erotic/domestic thriller), but what a great name! The character is a woman.

Minnow from The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes.

daisy1507 Says:

July 24th, 2019 at 9:41 am

Not really hidden, and not strictly literary, but ever since reading Narnia I always liked Caspian after Prince Caspian! Of course, there’s also the Caspian Sea..

Eliza_A Says:

July 24th, 2019 at 12:51 pm

I’ve always loved Eilonwy from the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
Bronte as in the Bronte Sisters, the authors of Jane Eyre, Agnes Grey, and Wuthering Heights
Esta and Harte from The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Scherazade from One Thousand and One Nights is a mouthful but nickname Zadie is adorable

miloowen Says:

July 24th, 2019 at 1:27 pm

Louisa from Christina Stead’s The Man Who Loved Children. Florian from Lloyd Alexander’s Westmark series.
Kezia, from Hariette Arnow’s The Dollmaker and Keziah, from Rumer Godden’s The Diddakoi.
Chaya, from Jane Yolen’s The Devil’s Arithmetic.
And I stole the name Francis Chisholm from A J Cronin for my own novel.
Winifred for Winifred Holtby and Vera, for her friend Vera Brittain.
Angharad, from Margaret Mahy’s The Tricksters, as well as Welsh mythology.
Evangeline and Maeve, after my friends Evangeline Walton and Maeve Binchy.
Octavia, for Octavia Butler.
Geordie and Hughie, from Paul Gallico’s Thomasina.
Alvaro, from La forza del destino.

NeverLearnedToWeep Says:

July 24th, 2019 at 2:43 pm

My personal favorite name in general is Howell, from Howl’s Moving Castle.

josephinedagnall Says:

July 24th, 2019 at 3:37 pm

Lilias – from Christina Rossetti’s poem ‘An Apple Gathering’.
Yisselda – from Michael Moorcock’s ‘The History of the Runestaff’.
Nimue – from Thomas Malory’s ‘Le Morte d’Arthur’.
Ellen – from Emily Brontë’s ‘Wuthering Heights’.
Sibyl – from Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’.
Lúthien – from J.R.R Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’.
Essa – from John Lenahan’s ‘The Shadowmagic Trilogy’.

Aedion – from Sarah J. Maas’ ‘Throne of Glass’ series.
Magnus – from Cassandra Clare’s ‘The Mortal Instruments’.
Níall – from ‘The Expedition of the Sons of Eochaid Mugmedon’.
Liono – from Isaac Asimov’s ‘Foundation’s Edge’.

I feel like this has revealed me to be an avid reader of fantasy books, but the names in them are just too good to ignore!

jmsouthern Says:

July 24th, 2019 at 7:25 pm

Cleary, the surname of the family at the core of “The Thorn Birds”. I’ve wanted to name a son this ever since my elder sister read the novel aloud to me when I was 9. I know, I know, it was TOTALLY inappropriate for a preteen! But I loved (still love) this book!

SweetNSauerkraut Says:

July 24th, 2019 at 10:38 pm

The Throne of Glass series has so many good names:
Aedion (m) my favorite name on this list
Aelin (f)
Celaena (f)
Nesryn (f)
Chaol (m) pronounced like chaos but with an L

From the Kingskiller Chronicles:
Kvothe (m) sounds like quoth
Denna (f)
Bast (m)
Auri (f)

World Without End:

Kjh446 Says:

July 25th, 2019 at 3:41 am

Avonlea – is the setting of Anne of Green Gables. I think it would make a beautiful name
Winfield- from John Steinbeck´s The Grapes of Wrath
Bastian – from The Neverending Story
Watson- from Sherlock Holmes
Magnolda- Was the main character of a book called Madeleine F that I recently read, I think it is a pretty name
Anton- No country for old men
Edmund- Count of Monte Cristo
Aibileen- The Help
Branwell- The only son of the Bronte family
Morrison- Toni Morrison, she also have some amazing names on her characters such as Pecola, Golden and Sula
Florizel and Perdita from Shakespeare’s The Winter’s tale are two beautiful names that we don’t here as often

pindorama Says:

July 25th, 2019 at 8:02 pm

I love the name Capitu from “Dom Casmurro”, a Brazilian classic by Machado de Assis.

jrave656 Says:

July 26th, 2019 at 8:37 am

I’ve loved Honoria ever since reading it in some story in a 20th century modern lit class; it’s a huge shame it would probably get mispronounced often as rhyming with gonorrhea

monkat8778 Says:

July 26th, 2019 at 10:30 am

It’s not a hidden gem, but I loved Andrea for a man after reading The Count of Monte Cristo. Too bad I’m an Anglophone…

ceryle Says:

July 26th, 2019 at 8:27 pm

I have Hollin (boy) and Laurelin, Lorien and Yavanna (girls) on my list thanks to Tolkien.

Matthias is biblical, but I first loved it because of Redwall. That series has a lot of gems: Arula, Arven, Celandine, Tansy, Triss…

mermuse Says:

July 29th, 2019 at 8:47 am

Narnia is a treasure trove of names. Tirian, the last king of Narnia, is on my serious list, at least as a middle name

Sonora Says:

August 22nd, 2019 at 7:03 am

Ayla from The Clan of the Cave Bear
Saphira, Maud, Linnëa and Arya from Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle
Scout obviously, from How to Kill a Mockingbird
I also love Laurent and Auguste (m) from CS Pacat’s Captive Prince Trilogy
If you count manga, Shana and Justus (m) from Shakugan no Shana
Pippin from LOTR

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