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)