Category: literary names for girls
By Abby Sandel
While Hat and Bookcase remain – thankfully – unused, parents continue to embrace the idea of word names – nouns, adjectives, and even a few verbs – for our children’s names.
This week’s celebrity birth announcements highlight the range of possibilities.
So for our Question of the Week, we’d like to know: What are your favorite girls’ literary names?
Consult our master list of literary names for girls for inspiration. And please feel free to add wonderfully-named heroines we’ve overlooked.
And please tell us about the heroine, the book, and why you love it and the name so much!
Today we’re celebrating the natal day of William Shakespeare, and in his honor we thought that instead of reiterating the usual list of familiar major characters—Romeo and Juliet, Beatrice and Benedick et al—we’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 best known bearer of this name, French-Cuban writer Anais Nin, was born Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira and is most famous for her diaries, which spanned sixty years. In addition to being the name of a popular perfume, this lovely French Provencal version of Anne was used by rocker Noel Gallagher for his daughter.
We’ve talked a lot about Shakespearean literary names and characters in Dickens and Jane Austen, but we’ve overlooked three of the best namers in literary history—the sisters Brontë. We love their own names—Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and we love their initial-appropriate male pen names—Currer, Ellis and Acton. We even love their surname, which a number of parents have chosen for their daughters.
But it is the particularly rich cast of character names in their novels that we love the most. One of them, in fact, had a considerable effect on baby naming of its era. Though it’s long been said that it was Shirley Temple who promoted her given name in the 1930s, she wasn’t the first. In Charlotte Brontë’ second novel, following Jane Eyre, the protagonist of Shirley was given that name because her father had anticipated a boy, and Shirley was a distinctively male name at the time. The novel’s Father Keeldar made a gender switch that has proven to be permanent.