Naming

It is not only the effect that the sound of a name has on others which is to be thoughtfully considered; the effect that his name produces on the man himself is perhaps still more important. Some names stimulate and encourage the owner, others deject and paralyse him.

(Max Beerbohm, The Naming of Streets, Essay)

Zephyr

“Her godparents or whoever wished it on to her should have been guillotined!”

(Elinor M. Brent-Dyer, Jo to the Rescue, 1945)

Naming

“It’s my opinion children shouldn’t be named at all. They should be nameless till they grow up, then choose their own names.”

(L.M. Montgomery, Magic for Marigold, 1929)

Jack

“There’s such a vogue for fancy names nowadays [1890s]. All your Cuthberts and Wilfreds and Percivals. Perhaps I am merely being perverse, but I feel a desire for something absolutely plain for him. I imagine him in a few years’ time when he’s a sturdy boy running about, and I can’t imagine myself calling out ‘Clarence!’ or ‘Algernon!’ or ‘Phineas!’ . . . . Jack. That’s a nice, plain, manly name.”

(Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, The Homecoming, 2001)

Amelia

There’s a lot you can do with a name like Amelia. You can play with it, sure, is what you think I’m going to say. Make it cute (Amy), or cuter (Millie), complaining (Meelie), or French, I guess, like the movie (Amelie). You can step right into that name, is what I mean, and walk around. Swim with it or spill it on your shirt. Whisper it over like a sad, soft ache, or bark it out aloud like a mad, manic message: camellia, come heee-re, a-million, ah murder you, ye-ah.

(Jaclyn Moriarty, Dreaming of Amelia, Macmillan, 2010)

Alicia

If you say “Alicia” quickly it sounds just like a well-behaved sneeze.

(Diana Wynne Jones, The Merlin conspiracy, Collins, 2003)

Agatha

Agatha Mary Clarissa was named after her mother and grandmother, the name of Agatha, she believed, being added by Clara … as a result of a suggestion made on the way to the christening. (One of Clara’s favourite novels was, moreover, Miss Mulock’s Agatha’s Husband.)

…. As her publisher told her in 1920, it was an unusual and therefore memorable name.

(Janet Morgan, Agatha Christie, 1985)

Abdullah

Abdullah
“What a fine name the hero of that story had,” she said aloud. “If I were a man I would wish my parents had called me that.”

(1001 Arabian Nights adapted by Geraldine McCaughrean.)

On Naming

Pa drove happily… thinking of his six children and the splendid, handsome names he and Ma had given them. Jolly good names, perfick, every one of them, he thought. There was a reason for them all. Montgomery, the only boy, had been named after the general. Primrose had come in the Spring. Zinnia and Petunia were twins and they were the flowers Ma liked most. Victoria, the youngest girl, had been born in plum-time.

(H.E. Bates, The Darling Buds of May, 1958)

Henry

He always signed his name “Henery” – strenuously insisting upon that spelling, and if any passing schoolmaster ventured to remark that the second ‘e’ was superfluous and old-fashioned, he received the reply that ‘H-e-n-e-r-y’ was the name he was christened and the name he would stick to – in the tone of to whom orthographical differences were matters which had a great deal to do with personal character.

(Thomas Hardy, Far from the madding crowd, 1874)

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