Literary Names: How To Find One You Love In A Book


There are countless names that have been plucked from books and transferred to birth certificates, including current favorites like Atticus (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Holden (Catcher in the Rye) and Emma (Emma), not to mention Romeo and Juliet.

But there are lots more literary names that are not as obvious, some from more obscure books, others of less prominent characters.  Here are 50 such  examples of creative literary names that have not made it into the mainstream, but could make interesting choices—25 of them for each gender.

But bear in mind that though these names all have literary cred, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they’re attached to the most heroic characters.


  1. AbraEast of Eden, John Steinbeck

  2. AdelaidaThe Idiot, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

  3. AliaDune, Frank Herbert; Midnight’s Child, Salman Rushdie

  4. Clea —  The Alexandria Quartet, Lawrence Durrell

  5. ClemencyThe Battle of Life, Charles Dickens

  6. CosetteLes Misérables, Victor Hugo

  7. DabneyDelta Wedding, Eudora Welty

  8. FantineLes Misérables, Victor Hugo

  9. Honoria —  Bleak House, Charles Dickens; Babylon Revisited, F. Scott Fitzgerald

  10. Lindo – The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan

  11. Lizaveta – The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

  12. MaltaBleak House, Charles Dickens

  13. Marilla —  Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery

  14. Medora —  The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton

  15. Meridian – Meridian, Alice Walker

  16. OrianeRemembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust

  17. PersisThe Rise of Silas LaphamWilliam Dean Howells

  18. Placida — Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel Garcia Márquez

  19. TempleSanctuary, Requiem for a Nun, William Faulkner

  20. ThomasinReturn of the Native, Thomas Hardy

  21. TrillianHitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

  22. ValenciaSlaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut

  23. VelvetNational Velvet, Enid Bagnold

  24. WaverlyThe Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan

  25. ZenobiaThe Blithedale Romance, Nathaniel Hawthorne; Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton


  1. ArkadyCrime and Punishment, A Raw Youth, Fyodor Dostoyevsky; Fathers and Sons, Ivan Turgenev

  2. Brinker – A Separate Peace, John Knowles

  3. CamdenMiddlemarch, George Eliot

  4. CarverLorna Doone, R. D. Blackmore

  5. CaspianThe Return to Narnia, C. S. Lewis

  6. CatoHenry and Cato, Iris Murdoch

  7. Dexios – The King Must Die, Mary Renault

  8. DunstanSilas Marner, George Eliot

  9. GoldenJazz , Toni Morrison

  10. JossJamaica Inn, Daphne Du Maurier

  11. JupiterThe Gold Bug, Edgar Allan Poe

  12. KenyonThe Marble Faun, Nathaniel Hawthorne

  13. LemuelGulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift; A Cool Million, Nathanael West

  14. MariusLes Misérables, Victor Hugo

  15. OziasArmadale, Wilkie Collins

  16. Phileas – Around the World in Eighty Days, Jules Verne

  17. ReuvenThe Chosen, Chaim Potok

  18. RodionCrime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

  19. SenecaBabbitt, Sinclair Lewis

  20. SeptimusThe Mystery of Edwin Drood, Charles Dickens; Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

  21. Shreve – Absalom, Absalom, William Faulkner

  22. St. John (pron. Sinjin) —Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

  23. TertiusMiddlemarch, George Eliot

  24. VictoryJazz, Toni Morrison

  25. YanceyCimarron, Edna Ferber

About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz