When you’re picking out potential names for your baby, why not trade the baby naming book for one of the many reads on your bookshelf? If reading is one of your favorite hobbies, this is probably a no-brainer. After all, there are many literary baby names that still sound fresh today. And you’ll always have a great story on hand when people ask how you arrived at a particular name.
Now, I’m not suggesting you name your child Frankenstein or Gatsby (although that would be fabulous), but literature is a good source of names because writers spend a lot of time thinking about pleasing sounds and their meanings in the context of a language. So it stands to reason that writers have come up with some of the most beautiful and just plain cool-sounding names around.
So here are 15 literary baby names to help you get those creative juices flowing. With examples from Shakespeare to Philip Pullman and most eras in-between, you’re almost certain to find a name that will perfectly suit your own growing family. And won’t your child enjoy growing up knowing that his name was inspired by a famous character? Yeah, that kid will definitely grow up to be a bookworm.
Denver is a dynamic, intelligent youngest child of the protagonist Sethe in Toni Morrison’s Beloved. This is also a unique unisex name for a modern baby.
Elizabeth Bennet is one of the sharpest characters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, managing her family and suitors with her quick wit and strong will. Why not honor such a strong women when naming your own kid?
The titular character of Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome is a sensitive man with a tremendous love of the outdoors. It’s also become a popular boy’s name in recent years, and has cracked the top ten list of popular names since 2002.
Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native features the passionate Eustacia Vye, who has the eye of most every man in her town. Can you imagine calling your own girl by such a stunning name?
Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre features a minor character named Georgiana Reed, who appears as a sort of reformed mean girl in later parts of the novel. Everyone loves a redemption arc, right? Furthermore, this pretty name is also unusual, as it has not been in the top 1,000 names in the last five years.
Grant Wiggins is the protagonist of Ernest J. Gaines’ poignant A Lesson Before Dying. A complex character, Grant displays considerable compassion when mentoring an inmate. You might consider this solid name for your own little boy.
Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables features Jean Valjean as one of the most sympathetic protagonists of all time. Jean is also a classic boy’s name that still sounds great today.
Lyra’s spunk and spirit dominates Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. This unique name would be fitting for your own one-of-a-kind girl.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter features some great names. But Pearl, the heroine’s vibrant young daughter, stands out because she is so perceptive and charming. This might make a great name for your own little treasure.
Okay, so Roderick Usher in Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Fall of the House of Usher" is about 50 shades of cray. But isn’t the name Roderick just so stately and neat?