Baby names

Westend61/Westend61/Getty Images

26 Perfect Literary Boys Names

Timeless classics to add to your list.

Naming a baby is fun, exciting, and often very difficult — especially if you and your partner aren’t on the same page with favorite baby names. You may surprise yourself with where you ultimately pull inspiration for your baby’s name. It could come from a family tree, a favorite TV show, or a book or author you love. These literary baby boy names are for the bookworms who want a name with a story (literally) behind it.

Maybe for tradition or family reasons you’re looking for a name that starts with a certain letter or you’d like to give your baby a gender-neutral name. The literary names on this list offer something for everyone, from timeless names like Oliver, Calvin or Gabriel to more modern options, unisex names or something nature-inspired like Ocean or Moby. Even if you’re not a fan of the book or author the name calls back to, you still may some inspiration on this list, that covers everything from Dante to Shakespeare to The Fault In Our Stars, and then some.

We’re certain that at least one of these 26 literary baby names for your little budding literature enthusiast will earn a spot on your baby name list.

1

Finn

Shutterstock

Huckleberry Finn from Mark Twain’s book is such a beloved literary character. The name Finn is of Irish descent meaning “fair” and it’s short, easy to pronounce and has become extremely popular of late.

2

Oliver

The title character from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist is a good kid with strong morals, even when surrounded by corruption. Oliver is a popular name— it was the third most given boys’ name in 2021, according to the Social Security Administration, but that’s because it’s classic with several great nicknames. Oliver means “olive tree” so it’s also a nice nature-inspired name.

3

Atticus

Atticus, as in Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s beloved book, To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a name with a strong sound, similar to Magnus or Titus. The nickname Atti offers a softer alternative.

4

Calvin

kate_sept2004/E+/Getty Images

A comic book may not seem super *literary* but for a lot of kids, falling in love with comic books is the beginning of a lifelong passion for reading. The name Calvin (meaning “little bald one”) calls back Calvin & Hobbes, beloved my children and adults alike. Cal is such a cute nickname too. There’s also a Cal in East Of Eden, and a Calvin in A Wrinkle in Time.

5

Dante

Dante Alighieri is the name of the Italian poet who wrote The Divine Comedy, and this name stands the test of time. It is simple and powerful, and literally means “enduring, steadfast, everlasting”.

6

Gulliver

Oscar Wong/Moment/Getty Images

Written in the 1700s, Gulliver’s Travels stands the test of time. In the book, the name is a surname (the character’s name is Lemuel Gulliver). Perfect for a future adventurer, Gulliver is sweet and strong.

7

Huck

Roc Canals/Moment/Getty Images

We already covered Finn, but Huck (or even Huckleberry) is also a really cute literary boys name that will also work well when your newborn eventually grows into an adult. The full version of the name means “sweet berry”, perfect for your sweet boy.

8

Rhett

Gone With The Wind fans will instantly know who inspired this name, as Rhett is the main love interest from the famous ‘30s book. Rhett also stands on its own as a classic Southern name meaning “to speak” so it’ll be perfect your little chatterbox.

9

Sawyer

Sawyer is the last name of the title character Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. I’m hearing this whimsical literary gender neutral name more and more recently, and it means “woodcutter.”

10

Ellison

Shutterstock

Name your baby after American writer, Ralph Ellison who is best known for his book Invisible Man. Ellison is a unique alternative to Ellis or Elliot, and it means “Son of Ellis.”

11

Langston

Poet Langston Hughes is perhaps the most well-known for his poem, Harlem (“What happens to a dream deferred?”). Langston is a unique, sturdy name that I’m surprised isn’t more widely used. Langston means “long stone” and and Hughes could be a cool alternative if you’re looking for something different.

12

Cullen

Fine, the Twilight series may not be considered high art by everyone, but Cullen — as in Edward Cullen — is a solid name and is from a book (whether that book qualifies as “literature” or not). It means “Son of the holy one” and is a nice alternative to Colin.

13

Max

Shutterstock

Chances are your little one has a copy of Where The Wild Things Are on their bookshelf, and the and the name Max calls back to the book’s protagonist and littlest wild thing. Max means “greatest” and is a classic baby name choice.

14

Holden

Channeling the energy of J.D. Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, the main character in The Catcher in the Rye, the name Holden means “valley”. It’s another strong, simple, powerful choice.

15

Monroe

The idea for the name Monroe came from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, The Last Tycoon, whose main character is Monroe Stahr. Monroe is a gender-neutral baby name meaning “mouth of the river Roe.”

16

Pip

Charles Gullung/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Pip is short for Phillip typically — though this adorable name could stand on its own — and it means “lover of horses.” Philip Pirrip is a beloved literary character from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

17

Augustus

Augustus is one of the main characters from John Greene’s lovely and heartbreaking book, The Fault In Our Stars. It means “majestic” and this name has several nicknames including Gus, Auggie, or Augustus.

18

Fitzwilliam

Yep, Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice has a first name and — in case you don’t remember — it’s Fitzwilliam. Both Fitz and William are lovely baby boy names on their own, and fusing the two together gives you plenty of options for cute nicknames.

19

Elie

Elie Wiesel was a prolific author best known for his book, Night, which is a heartbreaking read detailing his experience at Auschwitz. The name is at once classic and contemporary and it means “the Lord is my God.”

20

Ocean

Image taken by Mayte Torres/Moment/Getty Images

If you’re not yet a fan of poet Ocean Vuong, you will be as soon as you read his breathtaking work. This serene, evocative name is growing in popularity — it’s nature-inspired and gender neutral, too.

21

Gabriel

It’s hard to resist the surreal and vividly-detailed novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. If your baby boy has half the creativity of this author, he’ll be in great shape. Gabriel means “hero.”

22

Tennessee

Borrow the first or last name of playwright Tennessee Williams. Tenny or Tenn makes a cool nickname, and this is a memorable name with clear literary roots.

23

Moby

YDL/DigitalVision/Getty Images

It’s surprising that the short, cute name Moby isn’t more heavily used. Of course, this name immediately calls to mind Moby Dick — as well as a certain musical artist and it seems likely to have been invented for the book without any agreed upon meaning.

24

Lennox

Pulled from the pages of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Lennox is a strong sounding baby boy or unisex name, ideal for families who like the X sound at the end (like Alex or Jax). Lennox means “elm grove” and Lenny or Knox are both cute nicknames.

25

Colin

Ipinchuk/E+/Getty Images

Raise your hand if you loved The Secret Garden as a child. Colin is one of the main characters in the book, and while he starts off sick, by the end he is healthy and thriving. Colin means “cub.”

26

Jarvis

The name Jarvis hails from A Tale of Two Cities. It’s a unique baby name that doesn’t feel new or made up, and it means “spear.”

Having trouble picking a baby boy name? Open up your favorite book, or just pull one of the great ones from this list of literary boys names. Whatever you choose, your little baby is sure to live up to the greatness their name implies.