8 Literary Baby Names
Looking for a likeable, lasting name with some literary cred? We hit the books for some of the best lit-inspired baby names around.
An Irish name that means “tree trunk,” Cormac appears frequently in Celtic mythology, and was also the name of one of Ireland’s great kings. The award-winning author Cormac McCarthy—who changed his name from Charles—initiated the name’s growing popularity in the US; it’s also the name of a character in the hugely famous Harry Potter children’s book series.
A bit too obvious, and now too popular, for the hipster set, Holden has emerged as a favorite boy’s name among J.D. Salinger fans (his protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye made the name famous).
This literary and color name got its first big boost with the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel turned 10-time Academy Award®-winning film Gone With the Wind, in the late 1930s. Who could forget its epic heroine, Scarlett O’Hara? The name’s recent popularity, however—it moved up the list by 50 places last year, breaking into the Top 100—can be credited in full to bombshell modern-day actress Scarlett Johansson.
This traditional English occupational name is now on the top 1,000 baby names lists for both boys and girls; its literary reference to the famous, well-loved Mark Twain character Tom Sawyer gives it a playful appeal for both genders.
Created by the 15th-century poet Jacopo Sannazaro for his poem Arcadia, this gorgeous Greek name, meaning “help,” was later adopted by Shakespeare for his famously tragic character in Hamlet. A literary name to the core, it also appears on a brave female character in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Still rather unusual, but definitely striking, Ophelia is making a much-deserved comeback.
This Celtic, unisex name is sophisticated without being showy. And although Earnest Hemingway’s famous Lady Brett Ashley, from his novel The Sun Also Rises, is a bit of a promiscuous party girl, she’s also undeniably intelligent and likeable (as is her name).
A Greek name meaning “from Athens,” Atticus is better known as the heroic attorney, and loving father, in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. The embodiment of upstanding principles, Atticus Finch is universally admired, and the name has inherited some of his positive reputation. Initially a Roman literary name, Atticus is truly a cute, and cultured, name for a boy.
The name of many a great literary heroines, Jane Austen’s among them, Emma means “universal.” Its meaning is fitting these days, too; Emma has landed in the top three most popular girls’ name spots for three years running. While it’s definitely not uncommon, it is charming and classic (rather than trendy).
Your baby's beauty knows no bounds, so why not pick a name that evokes sheer glamour as well? Whether you embrace the name of the goddesses of love, a historical heartbreaker, or a modern head-turner, you can’t go wrong with a beautiful baby name.view gallery
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