Names & Naming

“Funny thing about names – have you noticed that? They’re more potent than we realise.”

(Andrea Newman, A bouquet of barbed wire, 1969)


It is a simple name… And simple names are always the most attractive.

(Mrs Henry Wood, East Lynne, 1861)


My wife’s name, I’m afraid, is Aurora….. A woman’s name ought ideally to steal over one, and not come up like thunder out of China ‘cross the bay.

(Peter de Vries, The tunnel of love, 1954)


“It sounds so manly. That makes it so suitable for you. I like a man who looks like his name.”

(Erskine Caldwell, The Earnshaw neighbourhood, 1971)


“Miss C. Morgeson, we will call you,” she said, in our first interview; “the name of Cassandra is too peculiar.”

(Elizabeth Stoddard, The Morgesons, 1862)


Then came Miss Jenkyns – Deborah, as she liked Miss Matty to call her, her father having once said that the Hebrew name ought to be so pronounced. I secretly think she took the Hebrew prophetess for a model in character.

(Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford, 1851)


“I say, what a funny name!” said Polly.

“It isn’t half as funny as Polly,” said Digory.

(C. S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew, 1955)


“Your mother thought Emily the prettiest name in the world – it was quaint and arch and delightful.”

(L. M. Montgomery, Emily of New Moon, 1923)


“It isn’t the name any decent people would give to a girl… common or not…. It’s giving girls names like that,” said Buggins, “that nine times out of ten makes ‘em go wrong. It unsettles ‘em. Euphemia indeed! What next? ….If ever I was to have a girl, if ever I was to have a dozen girls, I’d call ‘em all Jane.”

(H. G. Wells, Kipps, 1905


“You seem fond of [your name] in speaking it so decisively, Gabriel Oak.”

“You see, it is the only one I shall ever have, and I must make the most of it.”

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

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