“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)



“John! It do sound lackadaisical. What I call womanish. But perhaps it’s for the better. We have such a lot of Jacks… Perhaps you wouldn’t like not another name of that sort. . . . There ain’t another John about the place as I know. I never knew a John down a mine – never. We’ll try it anyhow.”

(Anthony Trollope, John Caldigate, 1879)