I plan to name my son Finn, like in Great Expectations, my favorite book.
My jaw dropped when I spotted this quote in a discussion about names for boys. Charles Dickens named his character Philip Pirrip, called Pip, and explained his name in some detail. It’s not a forgettable detail. Hollywood re-christened the character Finnegan, known as Finn, and played by Ethan Hawke. It’s one of the many gulfs that separate the book from the movie.
It’s tempting to mock a statement like the one above, and still I wonder … does literature really have a role in what we name our children? Are all those little Harpers and Emmas and Holdens really named after the characters? Or does having a literary namesake put the stamp of approval on a name? I’m fond of Huxley, a name I would explain by referencing Aldous H, the author of Brave New World. But here’s the simple truth: if Huxley’s last name were Baumgartner or Krakwoski, my inclination to borrow his surname would be nil.
It isn’t just literary references, either. We’re naming our kids the distinctive Lennon, not the fading classic John. No matter how much meaning matters, rare is the parent that will overlook style.
- Dear Neve, will you please text me your child’s name? I won’t tell – even though I’m sure it would be a huge scoop – but I love your name so much that I’m just dying to know. Uma won’t share, either … let’s hope this isn’t a new trend! While I recognize that I ought to respect the new parents’ privacy, I tend to feel the same way with any new baby. I’d like the full name and the story, and I’d like it now, please!
- Happily, Namestory fills in the gap by encouraging real live people to share the tales of their given names. I thoroughly enjoyed this one on Ursula. Incidentally, her story also reinforces my thought from above – literary associations are a bonus, not a driver, behind the names we choose.
- So does Tori Spelling, who spills all about choosing her kids’ names. (Thanks, Tori!) And also notes that Stella’s name was inspired partly by her love of Great Expectations. P.S. – Tori, if you’re stumped on #4, just let us know – we’re all willing to help!
- Did you see Waltzing More than Matilda’s post on Mirri? Tracking down meanings is tricky, but I agree with Anna – great name, and I hope they get to use it.
- So Phantom is a boy’s name, huh?
- Elea has compiled the Top 200 names in England for the year 1900. It’s a fascinating list, with rarities like Pretoria and Redvers represented, as well as some charming throwbacks – Hettie and Clement, anyone?
- Speaking of throwbacks, Nancy posted the names of a new set of quints born in Texas. There’s a Marcie! And one of the boys is Will. Not William, just Will. Interesting …
- I think I like Laker for a boy, though it is a little hoop star, though I find Lake to be gender neutral.
- That reminds me … the Nameberry discussion on gender neutral names was fascinating. There’s a long list of names that truly can’t be claimed by either gender. I suspect that we are slowly moving towards a time when more names will be up for grabs …
That’s all for this week. As always, thanks for reading, and have a great week!