Top Ten Literary Names (I’d Give My Children)

Dear Future Husband, we can vote on this. Love, Em.

I saw this on someone else’s blog, and at first I thought it was silly, but then I started thinking about it, and – well, here’s the result.

After all, it’s pretty obvious that I would contemplate doing this, isn’t it?

In alphabetical order:

    1. Antony after “Mark Antony” from William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra

    Marlon Brando as Antony in Julius Caesar (1953)

    I will not nerd out about Shakespeare, I will not nerd out about Shakespeare –
    Antony might not be our main focus in Julius Caesar, but he’s a wonderfully written character. I’ve loved this character ever since I read Julius Caesar in Mrs. Terri’s Language Arts class in the tenth grade. (The fact that I thought Marlon Brando was rather attractive as Antony might have helped the 15 year old me appreciate the character all the more.)

    2. Blythe after “Gilbert Blythe” from Lucy M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series

    Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story (1999)

    [A]ll pioneers are considered to be afflicted with moonstruck madness. (Anne of the Island)

    I’ve said before that I love the character Gilbert Blythe, but I don’t love the name “Gilbert.”

    However, Blythe is nice, and it means “joyous,” so that’s good. I think it would make a good girl’s name, or maybe a boy’s middle name.

    3. Cal or Caleb after “Caleb Trask” from John Steinbeck’s East of Eden

    James Dean as Cal in East of Eden (1955)

    Everyone should read EOE, and if you can’t get through all 601 pages of it, then watch the film. James Dean is extraordinary. Yes, the novel is full of allusions to the Genesis accounts of Adam, Eve, Cain and Able, and yes, Cal is a Cain-like figure, but he’s so terribly likable. I just thought he was a beautiful character.

    4. Catherine after “Catherine Morland” from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey

    Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey (2007)

    [I]f adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.

    We will not call her “Cathy.” Ew. All I’d ever think about is that silly comic strip.

    5. Edmund after “Edmund Pevensie” from C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia

    Skandar Keynes as Edmund Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)

    “But who is Aslan? Do you know him?”
    “Well — he knows me,” said Edmund.
    (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)

    Hands down favorite character C.S. Lewis ever wrote. He’s brilliant.

    6. Keats after poet John Keats

    Ben Whishaw as John Keats in Bright Star (2009)

    You speak of Lord Byron and me; there is this great difference between us. He describes what he sees, I describe what I imagine. Mine is the hardest task.

    Dear Future Husband, a tip: I really like John Keats. If you want to win me over, read his poetry and letters.

    And yes, I’d seriously consider this as a first name. Don’t judge: I discovered last week that one of my grandfather’s uncles was called Holmes Harris. Yeah, that’s right – Holmes. I could have included that in this list.

    7. Lucy after “Lucy Pevensie” from C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia

    Georgie Henley as Lucy Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)

    I think—I don’t know—but I think I could be brave enough. (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)

    The name “Lucy” means light, and she’s another fantastic character by Lewis.

    8. Royal after “Royal Wilder” from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series

    Laura and Almanzo Wilder

    Obscure character choice? Yes, indeed, because I love both of the Wilder brothers, but I’m not mean enough to name my son “Almanzo.”

    9. Scout after “Jean Louise ‘Scout’ Finch” from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

    Mary Badham as Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

    I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.

    Who doesn’t love Scout?

    10. Wendy after “Wendy Moira Angela Darling” from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan

    Wendy from Peter Pan (1953)

    ‘For Wendy?’ John said, aghast. ‘Why, she is only a girl!’

    ‘That,’ explained Curly, ‘is why we are her servants.’

    I know some people think that Wendy is a bit bossy, mothering, and annoying. Sounds like the ultimate big sister to me.

Judging from this list, I expect my future children to be intellectual, curious, adventurous, loyal, and concerned about their fellow man.

Oh, that’s a lot a pressure on me, isn’t it?

Oh, and the four names I would like to give my children but never will because I couldn’t possibly be that mean to them? Benedick from William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Dickon from Francis Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, Holmes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, and Huck from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I taught high school – I know what type of nicknames my children would end up having if I gave them these names. And if I didn’t know, I have heard what Benedict Cumberbatch’s classmates used to call him, (WARNING: that clip is funny but NSFW) and I just can’t do that to someone. (Granted, “Benedict Cumberbatch” is a very weird name, but…)


3 thoughts on “Top Ten Literary Names (I’d Give My Children)

  1. As someone who is named Blythe :), I am highly in favor of it as a girl’s name! It has served me well! Also Gwyneth Paltrow’s mom is named Blythe Danner. However, be fore warned that many people will mispronounce it and that when you visit (or live 🙂 ) in another country it is VERY (almost impossible) for locals to pronounce! But I like my name and will keep it and if you ever use it please let me know!

  2. Emily,

    A few thoughts on someone who successfully talked his wife out of naming our daughter “Lucybelle”.

    Antony – Great name. Go for it! My favorite in the list. Sam’s middle name (almost). Antonio.

    Blythe – It isn’t the name so much as Gilbert’s character. Totally unrealistic no matter how “romantic” it seems. Honestly, how many guys would wait around all of those years after being outright rejected any number of times? And any guy who did hang around, well, would you really want to marry that guy? I’m just saying…

    Caleb (not Cal), Catherine, Lucy and Wendy are all great.

    Scout – sorry but Demi Moore and Bruce Willis ruined that name. Rumor as well.

    Edmund – PLEASE don’t do that to your boy. Edward is bad enough (speaking as an Edward). Edmund or Edgar are rich fodder for teasing.

    Royal & Keats – Not bad but think long and hard….

    Not that I get a vote or anything. As Rod Serling said, “Submitted for your approval.” 🙂


    • Ed N – I can only assume that yours is the voice of experience, but can I ask what sort of teasing Edmund and Edgar get? Is it inappropriate in a way I failed to notice? I ask because Edmund tempted me (and Thalia, and others from the Egotist’s Club), so I’m wondering. The only teasing I can think of is comparing the boy to either Mr. Ed or to Edward Cullen.

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