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 names for baby boys 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 literary baby names for your little budding literature enthusiast will earn a spot on your baby name list.
Just because you’re wanting a literary boys name doesn’t mean it has to be a male character for a classic book. Call back to a beloved contemporary female author by naming your son Atwood, a name that is unique and strong even without its literary roots.
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.
3 Jasper Twilight fans will instantly recognize Jasper as the name of one of the vampires in Twilight and Alice’s love interest Rising in popularity, Jasper was the 36th most popular name for boys in 2022 according to data from BabyCenter, moving over 100 spots up on the list from the year before. 4 Charles
Whether you’re channeling Charles Dickens, or giving a nod to Charles, good friend to Mr. Darcy, Charles is a charming and classic name with distinct literary roots. It means “free man” and it’s a good fit for a free spirited little boy. The nickname Charlie calls back to a certain chocolate factory as well as
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. 5 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. 6 Ernest
You can’t think of literary icons without Ernest Hemingway coming to mind, a prolific writer perhaps best known for
The Sun Also Rises, This name, meaning “serious” is perfect for a budding English scholar. 7 Darcy
One of two central characters in Jane Austen’s 1813 classic,
Pride and Prejudice, Darcy is a cool name meaning “dark haired” that’s due for a resurgence. It’s gender neutral and a nice alternative to Darby
Later in the list you’ll find Mr. Darcy’s rarely mentioned first name name.
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. 9 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. 10 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”. 11 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. 12 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.
13 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. 14 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.” 15 Ellison
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.” 16 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. 17 Cullen
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. 18 Max
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. 19 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. 20 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.” 21 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. 22 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. 23 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. 24 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.” 25 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. 26 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.”
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.
28 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. 29 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. 30 Colin
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.” 31 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.” More literary boys names Watson Ishmael Toby Victor Hugo Laurence Ulysses Thor George Eliot Morrison Harry Baldwin Walker Barnaby Romeo Edmund Bell Robin Dorian Samwise Jay Noah Finnick Homer Ray Winston
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.
This article was originally published on
Sep. 3, 2022