“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


“I do think being called Euphemia is a heavy enough burden for anyone to bear, however rude they are.”

(Diana Wynne Jones, Charmed Life, 1977)


“There is nobleness in the name of Edmond. It is a name of heroism and renown – of kings, princes and knights; and seems to breathe the spirit of chivalry and warm affections.”

(Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814)


If I wanted a girl to grow up beautiful I’d call her Elizabeth, and if I wanted her to be a good cook, I’d choose something like Mary or Jane.

(George Orwell, Letters)


There was something wonderful about the name, a sort of music. This was odd, because the name, as a name, was far from being a favourite of his. Until that moment childish associations had prejudiced him against it. It had been inextricably involved in his mind with an atmosphere of stuffy schoolrooms and general misery, for it had been his misfortune that his budding mind was constitutionally incapable of remembering who had been Queen of England at the time of the Spanish Armada – a fact that had caused a good deal of friction with a rather sharp-tempered governess. But now it seemed the only possible name for a girl to have, the only label that could even remotely suggest those feminine charms which he found in this girl beside him. There was poetry in every syllable of it. It was like one of those deep chords which fill the hearer with vague yearnings for strange and beautiful things. He asked for nothing better than to stand here repeating it.

(P. G. Wodehouse, Uneasy Money, 1917)


“Elizabeth is almost a generic name for someone I like.”

(L. P. Hartley, The love adept, 1969)


Farid had difficulty remembering the name. It was awkward as a pebble on his tongue, and sounded like the name of an enchantress from a far-distant land.

(Cornelia Funke, Inkheart, Chicken House, 2003)