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  1. #51
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    I haven't read the entire thread put personally this is how I feel -

    A literary name is bad if it chosen purely because of a character in a book - eg I named my son Atticus because I loved the character etc. However if a parent loves the name, and the fact that there is a character with a decent history behind it makes it more special - then I will get fully behind it, personally a literary association has got to come to second.

    I have the same issue with biblical names, so often you hear people say I want my child to be named after someone from the bible or I named my son Matthew because he wrote my favourite gospel etc - but I generally feel as parent should love a name on it's own merit rather than the history that goes with it.

    Because after all these names are just characters - they have moulded over time, as language has changed, so even if you are the most religious person naming your son Joshua, doesn't necessarily mean that the biblical Joshua had exactly the same name, spelling and pronunciation.

    Whereas if you love the name Joshua it sound, its meaning and finally it's history - then the biblical references will simply make it more special.

    Personally I would prefer to hear children being named after people who have had an impact on the parent, whether it be a grandparent, a friend or even a famous figure who they respect - than a person who has been made up by an author.

    So I would quite happily name a son Atticus Thomas (if I liked the name Atticus) because I love the named Atticus, and the middle name would honour a family member. The fact that Atticus is a noble character in a story - and Thomas is biblical would come second to my choice. However I would never disregard a name, simply because it had major connations to a story - however Atticus really isn't my style!

    But to be honest - I generally feel that what someone names their child is up to them - and everyone has different opinions on it - so I try my very hardest not to judge
    Last edited by emilylou; May 10th, 2013 at 07:33 AM.

  2. #53
    I have such mixed feelings on this-- and I'm struggling with it at the moment, so I'll try and respond.

    I think if someone is genuinely using it to appear smart, eh. That's up to them, but I will snicker (not that most people would admit that that's the reason they chose a particular name).

    For me, I have to like a name, and if it has a particular nod to history or literature, it makes me squeal with delight even more than just liking the name for the sound or feel. The "both" factor is important to me, and if I can find a name that I love that also has a special meaning to me, I get giddy.

    I think I found one, though I keep getting a lot of dislike on the name front, since I'm having a boy, and loving the name Marlowe-- not only am I a Renaissance and classical theatre freak of nature-- I love the name, so I'm having a hard time shaking it.

    It was nice to read some of your responses to this query, though!

  3. #55
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Orange County, CA
    I see no problem with using literary (or any cultural) references to inspire the naming process. I think names should hold personal significance to the parents, so if there is a character, author, etc. that the parent truly loves, I can definitely support that. Some names on my list directly related to literary/cultural sources: Calvin (comic strip), Holden (The Expanse series), Shepherd (Firefly), Saul and Tyrol (BSG), Jaime (ASOIAF), Shaun (JFC), Heidi (book), Eyre. [sidebar, I just realized how much more "literary" my boys' list is than my girls'...THAT'S INTERESTING]

    That being said, I love these names 1) because of the references and 2) because I also love the way they sound. (looking closer at my literary references, all the boys' ones are sources I've enjoyed with my husband, while the girls' references are sources I've enjoyed on my own...ALSO INTERESTING).

    What also bugs me is parents who choose a "themed" name. "We both love literature so we want a literary name". I you both love the same literature? Do you love other things besides literature, and if so, why zero in on the lit angle? Do you actually love the name itself, or just the character/author? For instance, I am a musician. NOTHING bugs me more than my musician friends naming their kids Aria and Cadence. They're not even super strong names IMO, they're just vaguely musical. Now, I have met an Aria whose mother 1) was a musician and 2) truly loved the name, came to it completely by accident, and felt an immediate sense of relief and rightness when she found it. Cool. (and for a long time Clara was on my list, inspired by Clara Schumann, but also Clara from the Nutcracker which was my first favorite book ever)

    The question of pretentiousness...this is something I struggle with a lot, because I married into a family that is not as interested in literature or the arts as my family is, so I do encounter some mild hostility in this regard from time to time, and I have done some soul-searching as well. Here is what I've come up with: There is absolutely nothing wrong with claiming what you love because you just really love it. But when you claim something because of some (real or imagined) "boost" it gives to your image...that's pretentious, and it's actually not cool. Oddly enough, I think people giving their kids trendy names are searching for a "boost" of a some kind as well, so maybe the impulse comes from the same place even if the names are radically different.

    Ultimately, I most appreciate names that are inspired by a number of sources: Perhaps my great-grandma's maiden name is also a literary character I love as well as my husband's childhood best friend and the street we lived on when we were first married, plus it sounds amazing with our last name. WINNER.
    Last edited by capturedcastle; May 10th, 2013 at 01:02 PM.
    Current favorites: Olive, Louise/Louisa, Magdalene/Madeline, Phillipa, Talitha, Mallory, Blythe, Eliza, Mercy, Talia; Calvin, Charles, Gideon, Abram, Jude, Reuben, George, Reid, Clark, Holden.

  4. #57
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Quote Originally Posted by renrose View Post
    But why? I haven't read the book so I like Atticus purely for liking the sound. It's a genuine first name, Harper Lee didn't make it up and I don't know anything about the character. If I named a child Atticus and someone said 'Oh like TKAM?' I'd say 'no, I just liked it.' So... not pretentious surely?

    It's only really poets/authors surnames-as-first names that bother me. A surname is a surname so if you've gone out of your way to use it as first name, I imagine research has gone into it and there's a reason you picked it other than just 'it sounded nice'. If that reason turns out to be solely: 'it's the name of an author/poet whose name I found randomly and liked' then yeah, that's a bit daft.
    What I meant was that I can see how people can think it's pretentious when people who haven't read the book name their child after a character from the book just because it's hip and smart and all. But I don't think that people who just love the name should be judged for giving it to their child, and that's why I certainly don't agree with this thread because, as I said, you can't tar everyone with the same brush.
    Zelia • 20s • Exporting names from Greenland & Inuit mythology
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  5. #59
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by halestorm View Post
    I've never really thought about it, but I can see where you're coming from. I love literary names, but I've been a huge reader all my life and am now an English major. But unless that book or author held special significance, I wouldn't name my child after it just because it's a literary name. I'm a huge fan of The Great Gatsby, and I think Gatsby would make an adorable name. It's a bit out-there, though, and I'm actually considering using it for a dog.
    Gatsby would make an adorable dog.

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