Your Favorite Literary Names for Boys
Last week we asked you to nominate your favorite literary names for girls and were flooded with wonderful ideas, from the expected Matilda and Eloise to intriguing names such as Remedios (from 100 Years of Solitude) to Adah (of The Poisonwood Bible).
And now it’s the boys’ turn. What are your favorite boys’ names from books?
What great names, and great literary heroes, can you add to the list?
And as with the girls’ list, bonus points for discussing whether a great literary hero can influence your taste for his name, and whether a name can make you like a character more or less?
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on August 13th, 2013 at 10:39 pm
Including Edward Cullen in a list of male literary heroes is an abomination.
Part of the reason I love Sam so much is because of Sam Gamgee. Lord of the Rings also has Peregrin (Pippin) and Meriadoc (Merry), and The Hobbit has the very usable Thorin. Neville Longbottom is one of my favorite Harry Potter characters, but the name Neville is hopelessly geeky to me. Fred, George, Remus, Sirius, Ron, and Arthur are other names (and characters) that I like.
This just made me realize how little I actually read now. Now if we opened a discussion on favorite names from cult TV shows I’d be your girl…
on August 13th, 2013 at 11:08 pm
I love Huck so much. A great literary hero can enhances my love of a name for sure! Some of my faves, though I could probably come up with 500 I love!
Gwydion- Chronicles of Prydain
Rhett- Gone with the Wind
Colin- The Secret Garden
Dorian- The Picture of Dorian Gray
Heathcliff- Wuthering Heights
Sherlock- Sherlock Holmes
Peter- Peter Pan
Robin- Robin Hood
Oliver- Olive Twist
Theodore ‘Laurie’ Laurence- Little Women
Peregrin “Pippin”- Lord of the Rings
Gilbert, James “Jem”- Anne of Green Gables
Andrew “Ender”- Ender’s Game
Bastian Balthazar Bux, Atreyu- The Neverending Story
Lemuel Gulliver- Gulliver’s Travels
on August 13th, 2013 at 11:17 pm
The Narnia books have a lot of great names for boys. Peter, Edmund(also used by Jane Austen), Eustace, Digory, Shasta, Caspian are the ones that come to mind because they were main characters. I’m also a fan of a lot of the male names used by L.M. Montgomery in her books(Gilbert, Matthew, James, Charlie, Fred, Teddy, Kenneth, Jonas), but I think that’s just because I like names from that era. The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld has some fun names: Peris, Az, Fausto, Croy, Frizz, Sol, Ren, Tachs, Dex, Zane, contrasted with the more traditional David, Andrew, and Hiro(the character is Japanese).
on August 14th, 2013 at 12:01 am
@southern.maple Edward Cullen wasn’t added in a list of literary male heroes, so get your facts straight. First of all the post said ‘Your Favorite Literary Names for Boys’ not literary heroes and aside from the ‘Cullen’ Edward is a nice name and not such an abomination.
on August 14th, 2013 at 12:06 am
Westley (Princess Bride)
Christopher Robin (Winnie the Pooh)
Oberon (Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Charlie (Perks of Being a Wallflower)
Giovanni (Giovanni’s Room)
Thomas (Thomas the Rhymer)
Tam Lin (from the eponymous legend)
Watson (Sherlock Holmes)
Wallace (Scott Pilgrim vs the World)
Ferdinand (Ferdinand the Bull)
Marlowe (the Philip Marlowe series)
Milo (The Phantom Tollbooth)
Merlin (Arthurian legend)
Alexander (Mary Renault’s oeuvre)
Barnaby (Barnaby Rudge)
Bowman (The Wind Singer)
Hadrian (Memoirs of Hadrian)
Rupert (Rupert Bear)
Prospero (The Tempest)
Kai (The Snow Queen)
Kit (the Young Wizards series)
Hiro (Snow Crash)
Judah (The Red Council)
Calvin (Madeleine l’Engle)
Charles Wallace (ditto)
Tristram (Tristram Shandy)
Gale (Hunger Games)
on August 14th, 2013 at 12:13 am
I’m with southern.maple on the Edward Cullen deal. I mean, both “literary” and “hero” are wildly inaccurate.
Before I read the Hieronymus Bosch books, I couldn’t stand the name “Harry” unless it was used to reference Henry V (of England). But while Hieronymus isn’t likely to ever make it on a name list, I might call a son named Henry “Harry” if he asked very nicely.
I adore “Arthur” because of Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle – I grew up fascinated with Arthurian lore, but that series sort of redeemed the character (and the name) from the sordidness of the traditional Camelot tales. (I mean, come on, Arthur is kind of a blundering, arrogant idiot in the movie.) I also have been rather fond of “Rhys” because of the same series.
Thanks to JK Rowling, “Sirius” is now on the list of possibilities.
CS Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia have forever won the name “Edmund” to my heart.
I also really like Oberon, although it’d be a second or third middle name I’m sure.
on August 14th, 2013 at 12:27 am
Darcy, Huck and Dorian are some of my all time favs but I also like:
Theon, Renly and Mikken from Game of Thrones
Torin and Maddox from lords of the underworld
Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility
Nathaniel, Asher, Damien and Requiem from Anita Blake
on August 14th, 2013 at 12:39 am
Maxim of DuMaurier’s “Rebecca” is my long-time obsession. I hate that the men’s magazine kind of ruins it.
Silas as in “Silas Marner” is another favorite.
I love all the variations of Theodore Laurence of “Little Women”– Laurie, Teddy, Theodore, love it all. I also love Alcott as an homage to Louisa May on a boy.
Willa Cather his some gems in some of her more minor characters– Josiah, Anton and Otto are all just from “My Antonia”
Henry James had some nice names, as well. Miles in “Turn of the Screw” and Caspar in “Portrait of a Lady”
Newland Archer is a seriously great character name from Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence”
on August 14th, 2013 at 12:45 am
Almost forgot! St. John or Sinjun from “Jane Eyre” is another absolute favorite of mine, though probably too odd to be usable for me, sadly. I still adore it.
on August 14th, 2013 at 12:49 am
Edmund Pevensie (Narnia)
Charles Ryder (Brideshead Revisited)
Sebastian Flyte (same as above)
Quentin Compson (Sound and the Fury/Absolom, Absolom)
Jeremy (Jem) Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)
Theo Theodorakis (The Westing Game)
Jonathan Strange (Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell)
Milo (The Phantom Tollbooth)
Adrian (The Last Man)
Often, these characters have interesting last names which make somewhat ordinary first names into lovely names, but these are great names nonetheless.
on August 14th, 2013 at 2:10 am
There are a few repeats but anyway:
Dorian – The Picture of Dorian Gray
Basil – The Picture of Dorian Gray
Yevgeny – Yevgeny Onegin
Zooey – Franny and Zooey
Jack – The Importance Of Being Earnest; The Shining (and more (; )
Joseph – Vanity Fair
Jay – The Great Gatsby
Ivan, Nikanor – The Master and Margarita
Rhett, Ashley, Beauregard – Gone With The Wind
Dmitry – The Brothers Caramazov
Arthur, Bedivere – The King Arthur Legends
Paul – Misery (again, a lot of other works)
Orlando – As You Like It
Nathaniel – The Deerslayer
From seem-to-be-everybody’s-favorites: from Harry Potter books – Sirius, Cornelius and Ronald; from Percy Jackson books – Grover and all God names; from Sherlock Holmes books – Sebastian, Thaddeus and Bartholomew…
That’s just a sample, of course. I read a lot but my favorite books are mostly classics so many names are classic as well.
on August 14th, 2013 at 6:20 am
Perseus from Percy Jackson, Peter and Caspian from Narnia, Holden from Catcher in the Rye.
on August 14th, 2013 at 7:00 am
Atticus (never read, but love the name!)
Jonas (The Giver)
Jay (Same as Atticus)
Finn (More than one book)
Klaus (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
Ujurak (Seekers, I pronounce it Jack with an Er attached)
Jamie (I Funny)
Draco/Drake (Not my favorites, but I do like the names–Harry Potter and Gone)
Ian (The Island Trilogy by Gordon Korman)
Fritz (The Swiss Family Robinson)
Oliver (See Finn)
Soren (Guardians of Ga’hoole)
on August 14th, 2013 at 7:11 am
Holden- The Catcher in the Rye
Ender- Ender’s Game
Theodore “Teddy,” “Laurie”- Little Women
Bo- The Windsinger Trilogy
Kvothe- The Kingkiller Chronicles
on August 14th, 2013 at 7:33 am
Rhett – Gone With the Wind
Heathcliff – Wuthering Heights
Atticus – To Kill a Mockingbird
Artemis – Artemis Fowl
Albus – Harry Potter
Phineas – A Seperate Peace
on August 14th, 2013 at 8:37 am
I love nearly every name ever mentioned in Harry Potter. J K Rowling is a genius. And I don’t think Peter would actually be my #2 boy name if it wasn’t for the literary connections- I adore Peter Pan! And Peter Rabbit, Peter Pevensie and Peter from the Railway Children make it 100 times more appealing. Others:
Robin – Robin Hood
Edmund – Narnia
Dickon, Colin, Ben, Archibald – The Secret Garden
Benjamin – Tale of Benjamin Bunny
Tom – Tale of Tom Kitten/The Mousehole Cat
Julian – The Famous Five
James, Charlie, Danny, George – Roald Dahl books
Yeah, I should probably start reading grown up books 😉
on August 14th, 2013 at 9:37 am
@Southern Maple I thought the exact same thing. Whenever I see a post here about literary names, the main thing I see, apart from a handful of names from High School standards, is a bunch of names from YA novels. To even talk about Twilight in the same sentence as Huckleberry Finn is an abomination.
Some of my favorite names from classic literature:
Stephen or Kumalo from Cry The Beloved Country by Alan Patton
July from July’s People by Nadine Gordimer
Arcadio from 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Abel from House Made of Dawn by Scott Momaday
Eli or Nectar from Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
Jayber from Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
John Grady from All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
Leopold from Ulysses by James Joyce
Tristram from Tristram Shandy by Laurence Stern
Quentin from The Sound and the Fury (a bit too tragic to actually use, maybe)
Cass from All The Kings Men by Robert Penn Warren
Augie from The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
Oliver from Look Homeward, Angel by THomas Wolfe
Suttree from Suttree by Cormac McCarthy
Peregrine and Gareth from Wise Children by Angela Carter
Cosimo from The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino
Jolyon from The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
Orlando from Orlando by Virginia Woolf
Anatole or Pascal from The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Oscar from Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
Inman from Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
Pearl from Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes (I’d never be brave enough to use it, but I love it for a boy)
Pryor from Angels in America by Tony Kushner
on August 14th, 2013 at 9:51 am
I agree with southern.maple I have SO many from pop-culture TV shows! However, I do have some favourites from books as well:
Cadvan – Pellinor Series
Saliman – Pellinor Series
Hem/Cai – Pellinor Series
Arkan – Pellinor Series
Malgorn – Pellinor Series
Dorn – Pellinor Series
Percy – Percy Jackson
Tyson – Percy Jackson
Grover – Percy Jackson
Nico – Percy Jackson
Cavalier – City of Flowers
Cielo – City of Flowers
on August 14th, 2013 at 10:29 am
Well, I am a total bookworm and I read all the time, so here are the ones that I can think of right now
The Chronicles of Narnia – Caspian and Edmund
Anne of Green Gables – Gilbert
The Secret Garden – Colin
Gone with the Wind – Rhett
To Kill a Mockingbird – Atticus
Cyrano de Bergerac – Cyrano, although it’s a GP name it’s still awesome and this play is pretty cool
Pride and Prejudice – Darcy, alas GP name b/c it’s been taken over by the girls
Brides of Alba Series by Linda Windsor – Ronan
Fires of Glenmara Series by Linda Windsor – Rowan, Kieran, Alaric
These Highland Hills Series by Kathleen Morgan – Darach, Ian, and Niall
Embrace the Dawn & Consuming Fire by Kathleen Morgan – Ruarc and Adam
The Hunger Games – Gale and Peeta (GP name, but still Peeta is an awesome character)
The Last Cavaliers Series by Gilbert Morris – Yancy, Jeb, and Clay
House of Winslow Series by Gilbert Morris – Stuart, Brandon, Adam, Colin
on August 14th, 2013 at 10:50 am
Atticus (To Kill A Mockingbird)
Jase (My Life Next Door)
Lir (The Last Unicorn)
Edward (Sense & Sensibility AND Jane Eyre BEFORE CULLEN!)
St. John (Jane Eyre…love the sound not the spelling, confuses people)
Atreyu (Neverending Story)
Bastian (Neverending Story)
Arthur (Le Morte d’Arthur & The Sword in the Stone)
Oliver (Oliver Twist)
on August 14th, 2013 at 11:23 am
Has nobody read Demian? Max Demian and Emil Sinclair are two of the best literary names ever.
on August 14th, 2013 at 11:36 am
Arthur will always have a special place in my heart. I grew up with the stories of King Arthur and merlin, my dad used to read them to me as a bedtime story. Plus, it’s his name 🙂
on August 14th, 2013 at 12:16 pm
SouthernMaple is right…Twilight in no way can ever be considered literature.
The ones everyone else loves:
Arthur – The legends and Harry Potter
Atticus – To Kill a Mockingbird
Milo – The Phantom Tollbooth
Oliver – Oliver Twist
Robin – Winnie the Pooh
Westley – The Princess Bride
Calvin – A Wrinkle in Time
Ones I don’t think I saw above:
Max – Where the Wild Things Are
Jay – The Great Gatsby
Ford & Arthur – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Gale, Seneca & Finnick – Hunger Games
Charlie – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (and Perks of Being a Wallflower)
Huckleberry & Sawyer – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (GP name for sure!)
Harry Potter names:
Harry, Albus, George, Kingsley, Orion, Ronan, Cedric, Cormac
Twain, Hugo, Ambrose, Beckett, Truman, Dashiell
on August 14th, 2013 at 1:09 pm
I agree that Twilight shouldn’t be considered literature, but I think its popularity is past the point where we should get all up in arms about its very mention. It exists, it will fade, okay then.
My favorites are:
Odysseus/Ulysses – The Odyssey
Hector – The Iliad
Cadel – The Evil Genius Series/Trilogy (not quite literature, but it’s very fun)
Finnick – The Hunger Games
Jay and Nick – The Great Gatsby
Inigo – The Princess Bride
Peregrin (Pippin) – Lord of the Rings
Faramir – Lord of the Rings
Roux – Chocolat
on August 14th, 2013 at 1:18 pm
Jasper, Emmett, Jacob, Edward, Seth, Masen, Cullen, and James from the Twilight series
Jace, William, Nathaniel, Luke, and Alec from the Mortal Instruments series
Sam from the Linger series
Ren (Dhiren) from the Tiger’s Curse series
Orion, Kingsley, and Harry from the Harry Potter series
Daniel from the Legend series
Nico from the Percy Jackson series
And so many more that I can’t remember! 🙂
on August 14th, 2013 at 2:57 pm
Sam Gamgee, Peregrin Took, and Aragorn from the lord of the rings
Percy Jackson and Nico di Angelo from Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Edmund Pevensie from the chronichles of narnia
And a ton more I don’t remember.
on August 14th, 2013 at 4:00 pm
Padraic. He was the patriarch of the Cleary clan in The Thorn Birds.
Actually, come to think of it, Cleary would be a great name also!
on August 14th, 2013 at 4:02 pm
I also knew someone who named her son John Galt; she and her husband both were fans of Ayn Rand.
on August 14th, 2013 at 4:06 pm
Esther, Bleak House. Her Christ-like character strenghtened my fairly recent (last 10+ years) appreciation of her name.
on August 14th, 2013 at 4:10 pm
Oops, forgot this blog was about male names. Apologies.
on August 14th, 2013 at 5:41 pm
Heathcliff – Wuthering Heights
Hawthorne – Nathaniel Hawthorne
Sherlock – Holmes
Francis – Scott Fitzgerald
Beatrice – Much Ado
Eulalie – Edgar Allen Poe poem
on August 14th, 2013 at 5:50 pm
Rabbie, Tam, Jamie- Code Name Verity
Peter, Pan- Peter Pan
Ron, James, Teddy, Harry- Harry Potter series
Jasper- Inkheart Series
Marty- Cryptid Hunters
Puck- A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Nathaniel, John- The Amulet of Samarkand
Duncan- A Series of Unfortunate Events
Simon, Sam- Septimus Heap Series
Jack- The Graveyard Book
Freddy- The Golden Hamster Saga
Robb, Ned- A Game of Thrones
Colin- An Abundance of Katherines
Andrew- Ender’s Game
Prosper- The Thief Lord
Charlie- The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Tristan- Tristan and Isolde
These names are the only ones from my favorite books i could justify giving to a child. I have dozens of other favorite names that sound far crazier, such as Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle or Dream from Nightmares and Preludes, that would end up giving the boy a complex.
on August 14th, 2013 at 6:16 pm
Hawthorne–Hunger Games. its Gale’s last name. Also American Author, Nathaniel Hawthorne.
on August 15th, 2013 at 8:08 am
Charles Wallace and Maddoc – Madeleine L’Engle
on August 15th, 2013 at 8:36 am
Well, since Rhett is my number one (or two, depending on the day) name, I have to say Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind. Fitzwilliam comes to mind next. (Yay Pride and Prejudice!)
Also, I love Plantagenet from the Palliser series by Anthony Trollope. I wouldn’t name my kid Plantagenet, but that doesn’t stop me from loving the name. It’s so…melodious, I guess? Whimsical yet grounded in tradition.
Sawyer is a top (male) name of mine, due to the Tom Sawyer connection.
I kind of liked Sidney from A Tale of Two Cities, for the character anyway. And Alexandre.
Finally, there’s Orry from the North and South chronicles by John Jakes. They actually never say if it’s short for something. I think it would make a great nickname for Aurelian or something along those lines.
Oh, one more – I just finished Anna Karenina. How can one not love Alexei, Ivan, Fiodor, and all those lovely Russian names? 🙂
on August 15th, 2013 at 8:40 am
Gah, how could I forget Gawaine from The Once and Future King? Add to that Gareth and Agravaine and Gaheris. Good old Gaelic names! Of course, Gareth is the most useable, and I might, might consider Gawaine. I like the way it sounds…on some days.
on August 16th, 2013 at 10:28 am
Nobody, aka Bod, from the Graveyard Book–realise it’s probably a long shot.
Coraline from the eponymous Coraline
Inigo from The Princess Bride
Fred and George Weasley
Rudy Steiner from the book thief
on August 16th, 2013 at 1:10 pm
So glad I kept the boy’s names that I nearly included in the Girls Literary Names the other day (before I realized you split the sexes). lol
Rupert nn Ru, Cyril sometimes called Cy, Gordon (LOVE!), Wallace, Edward, Walter – Elsie Dinsmore series by Martha Finley
Gilbert – of Green Gables
Judd, Rayford, Raymie, Chaim, Nicolae (yes, I know he’s the bad guy), – Left Behind series
Marcellus, Demetrius – The Robe
Gabriel, David – Bible
Tobias (this was the first time I ever heard this and as a 5th grader, TOTALLY FELL INTO NAME HEAVEN. thankfully my husband agrees that Tobiah will be our 2nd son’s name should we have one) and Marco – Animorphs
Darcey – Pride & Prejudice
Robin- Robin Hood/ Christopher Robin (and another non-literary namesake Robin Mark)
Oliver- Oliver Twist
Bastian – The Neverending Story
Caspian – Narnia
Malcolm, Jeff, Calvin – Time Twists by Paul McCusker
on August 16th, 2013 at 10:15 pm
A few that haven’t been meontioned yet:
D’Artagnan, Alexandre- The Three Musketeers
Tyrion, Bran, Aerys- Game of Thrones
on August 16th, 2013 at 10:19 pm
on October 3rd, 2013 at 1:50 am
I was an English major and love to read, so I would love to incorporate some literary names…but I’ve never completely fallen in love with the names of many of my favorite characters. There are several I like as middle names, though.
Alden (Boxcar Children–I don’t really care for the characters’ first names–Henry, Bennie–but their last name I do like.)
Louis (Trumpet of the Swan)
Darcy, Bennett (PandP)
Elliot, maybe Frederick (Persuasion)
Edmund, Caspian (Narnia)
Calvin (Madeleine L’engle) I like the name, but I don’t really like the connection with the Christian theologian Calvin, as I don’t agree with many of his teachings. But I would love something from L’engle…maybe I’ll use a girls’ name from her works instead. 🙂 Or Charles, as in Charles Wallace, although I wouldn’t use the combination, and I would call him Charlie.
Wilder (Little House on the Prairie series)
I want to add something from HP to this list, but nothing really seems to work. I feel like it ought to be one of my favorite characters…but Remus and Lupin don’t really fit with any of my other names. I love the characters, but either their names are so ordinary that you wouldn’t know it was from HP, or so unusual that they couldn’t be from anything else, and likely to one day be overused as the “Harry Potter Generation” (which I am a bit older than) have children. Ooh, Arthur maybe, as it would have connections to both HP and medieval literature, which I love. One thing that I haven taken from Harry Potter is an appreciate for alliterative names (Bathilda Bagshot, Severus Snape, Filius Flitwick, etc.). So, not a particular name, but a style that makes ordinary names sound more quirky.
Beowulf is another favorite of mine…what do you think of Beowulf as a middle? My conservative family would be shocked.
This list is harder than I thought it would be. For one thing, I just want to use books/authors that really have had a big impact in my life, and a lot of what I read are classics with classic male names that wouldn’t be recognizable as from a certain book.
on January 28th, 2014 at 10:38 pm
I love from the list:
Conner (Impulse/Perfect by Ellen Hopkins)
Hunter (Fallout by Ellen Hopkins)
Augustus (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green)
Quentin (Paper Towns by John Green)
Jem (To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee)
on February 21st, 2014 at 1:06 am
I have so many! I am a massive Jane Austen fan, so I love the names Austen and Elliot (Persuasion), and Theodore (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott), would be my favourites I think 🙂
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