Questions tagged [name-significance]

Questions related to the literary significance or meaning of proper names that appear in literature.

33 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
8 votes
0 answers
134 views

When and why did the spelling "Shakespeare" become standardized?

Six specimens of William Shakespeare's signature survive. In none of them does he spell his own name "Shakespeare". Three of the signatures abbreviate his name. Of those that do not, two use ...
verbose's user avatar
  • 25.4k
6 votes
0 answers
294 views

What is the significance of the name Bastian Balthazar Bux?

Apart from being triply alliterative (BBB), what is the significance of the name Bastian Balathazar Bux (or Bastian Balthasar Bux in the German original), the protagonist of The Neverending Story? ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
6 votes
0 answers
124 views

Why are there two characters named "Rose" in Rose Under Fire?

Two major characters in Rose Under Fire (by Elizabeth Wein) have names that mean the same thing. One is named Róża ("Rose" in her native language) and the other Rose. As far as I can ...
bobble's user avatar
  • 9,705
6 votes
0 answers
416 views

Is there any evidence that Theremon 762's name was based on a theremin?

In Isaac Asimov's novel and short story (short story later expanded) Nightfall, there's a character named "Theremon 762". The whole novel is about darkness and innate fear, and a theremin, a type ...
user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
49 views

Why do all the three guys' names begin with M in Face?

In Benjamin Zephaniah's Face, the main character leads a "gang of three" at the beginning of the story. The three friends' names are alliteratively Martin, Mark, and Matthew. This led to ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
5 votes
0 answers
94 views

Inspiration behind Jack Vance's fantasy names?

One of my favourite parts of Jack Vance's Lyonesse series, which I first read many years ago, is the way the names seem perfectly chosen to reflect the nature of what they're naming. How could ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
5 votes
0 answers
1k views

What is the origin of the name Nilfgaard?

The empire of Nilfgaard becomes very important in the Witcher saga starting from the end of Sword of Destiny and continuing through the novels starting with Blood of Elves. The name has always ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
5 votes
1 answer
303 views

Is there any significance in Shakespeare's use of the name "Laertes" (name of the father of Odysseus) in Hamlet?

Is there any significance in Shakespeare's use of "Laertes" (name of the father of Odysseus) in Hamlet? Do we associate the name with The Odyssey more strongly than Shakespeare, to whom it was just ...
Chaim's user avatar
  • 604
4 votes
0 answers
101 views

A Narnian mole based on a British admiral?

Clodsley Shovel: a talking mole who plays a minor role in Prince Caspian. Cloudesley Shovell: a British admiral who died off the Isles of Scilly. What's going on here? Did Lewis ever acknowledge the ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
4 votes
0 answers
247 views

Why are Christian's children in "The Pilgrim's Progress" given Biblical names instead of character-based names?

In The Pilgrim's Progress, virtually all of the characters are named after their character (e.g. Mr. Pliable, Mr. Honest, Mr. Worldly Wise-Man, Mercy, etc.). However, Christian's children all have ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
54 views

How could Zohak's advisors deduce the name Feridoun from his dream?

In the first part of the Shahnameh, "The Shahs of Old", the Deev-influenced king Zohak has a dream in which he foresees his own downfall at the hands of Feridoun and his cow-headed mace: ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
4 votes
0 answers
86 views

What is the significance of the name "Strange" in Strange and Norrell?

Inspired by What is the significance of "Jonathan" in Strange and Norrell? In the book Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, "Strange" immediately strikes the reader as a rather ... well, ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
3 votes
0 answers
37 views

Maish's T&L Deli

I'm reading a series of books by Stuart Kaminsky (highly recommended) about a Jewish Chicago cop/detective named Abe Lieberman. One of the frequent scenes in the series is the deli run by his brother ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 131
3 votes
0 answers
51 views

What do the names of Yasha's animals in "The Magician of Lublin" say about him?

In Isaac Bashevis Singer's The Magician of Lublin, our main character Yasha named his horses "Kara" and "Shiva", and refers to them as "Dust" and "Ashes: He need ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 23.8k
3 votes
0 answers
79 views

What is the significance of naming the djinni Bartimaeus?

In the Bartimaeus trilogy, the main character is the eponymous djinni Bartimaeus, a demon/spirit from "the Other Place" who is cheeky, witty, boastful, and at times surprisingly deep. Bartimaeus, ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
3 votes
0 answers
306 views

Significance of the name Annabel Lee?

"Annabel Lee" is one of many pieces of writing by Edgar Allan Poe which explore the theme of a beloved woman who died young. As with other such works, most famously "The Raven", critics have ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
3 votes
0 answers
219 views

Where does the name Childermass come from?

Returning to the tale of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, it occurred to me to wonder where Childermass (probably my favourite character) got his name from. Wikipedia informed me that "Childermass" is ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
2 votes
0 answers
49 views

Is there a deeper significance of Professor Denovo's name?

The first book in Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence is Three Parts Dead. Professor Alexander Denovo, the main antagonist, seeks to gather enough power for himself to become like the gods. (Gods exist in ...
bobble's user avatar
  • 9,705
2 votes
0 answers
48 views

What is the significance of the dogs being named Hamlet and Ophelia?

In The Dragon Heir, from Cinda Williams Chima's The Heir Chronicles, Madison has two golden retrievers who are named Hamlet and Ophelia. One does not name anything "Hamlet" in a book by ...
bobble's user avatar
  • 9,705
2 votes
0 answers
71 views

Why do Chinese novelists sometimes have the same name as their characters?

I've encountered this twice now: 这世界,缺你不可 by 吴大伟 (Google Books) has a character named 大伟 (pinyin: Dà​wěi). 谢谢你曾来过我的世界 by 仲尼 (Google Books) has a character named 仲尼 (pinyin: Zhòng​ní). I'm puzzled as ...
Rebecca J. Stones's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
56 views

What's the significance of the name "Johnnie" in "The Bridge by the Tay"?

There's only one named character in this translation of Fontane's "Die Brück’ am Tay" ("The Bridge by the Tay"): "Johnnie". Johnnie shows up twice in the poem: Now, ...
bobble's user avatar
  • 9,705
2 votes
0 answers
679 views

In The Great Gatsby, is Nick Carraway's name intentional?

Nick's surname sounds a lot like care-away, and I've seen a number of online sources that state that this Fitzgerald intended for this to be so. I find this hard to believe, considering that Nick isn'...
Nico Damascus's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
219 views

Was the Cambridge mathematician "Andrew Martin" named after any actual mathematicians?

A central character in Matt Haig's The Humans, is a Cambridge mathematician Andrew Martin, whose speciality is prime numbers. This character is supposed to be exceedingly brilliant and to have solved ...
Kimball's user avatar
  • 1,023
1 vote
0 answers
35 views

Onomastics of Percival Everett's The Trees

tl;dr What's going on with names in The Trees? Deets Percival Everett's The Trees ends as Damon Thruff is typing out a list of 7,006 victims of racial violence: "He's typing names," Mama Z ...
verbose's user avatar
  • 25.4k
1 vote
0 answers
61 views

Origin of the name Duff Kerrigan?

Duff Kerrigan is a fictional detective featuring in a series of 21st-century detective stories by Jim Ingraham. That doesn't seem like a very common name, and yet it appears in exactly the same form ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
1 vote
0 answers
53 views

Oenone and Eno Zero - names based on numbers or what?

In the Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve, a major character in later instalments is Oenone Zero, a person whose first name I immediately noticed is an anagram of one one. At some point it's ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
1 vote
0 answers
19 views

Was Austen Heller's name inspired by Henry W. Austin?

It's no secret that Howard Roark was loosely inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. Interestingly enough, on a recent tour of Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Oak Park, IL, I encountered a park named after Henry ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
126 views

Did Lois Lowry name the protagonist of the Giver from the biblical prophet?

Did Lois Lowry name Jonas, the protagonist of the Giver, after the biblical prophet Jonah? Both of them are at one point reluctant to follow their calling that they didn't choose, so there is some ...
b_jonas's user avatar
  • 1,770
1 vote
0 answers
112 views

Georgian London: they had Windows of course but ... Linux?

I'm reading (the Italian translation of) The Confessions of Frannie Langton, a novel set in Georgian London, and one of the preeminent characters is the housekeeper of George and Marguerite Benham, ...
gboffi's user avatar
  • 135
1 vote
0 answers
304 views

Is there any significance to the format of Aziz's name?

One of the main protagonists in the outer frame story of Elif Shafak's The Forty Rules of Love is a man named Aziz Z. Zahara. This name immediately struck me because of its interesting relationship ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
1 vote
0 answers
53 views

Why did Sally Beth Roe have that particular last name?

"Jane Roe" a common name for an anonymous or unknown individual (similar to "John Doe" for men) - notably, for example, in the case Roe v. Wade. That being said, why was Sally Beth Roe's last name "...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
153 views

Was Stevenson's Captain Smollett named after Tobias Smollett?

The captain of the Hispaniola in Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island is a man named Alexander Smollett. There's also a Scottish writer named Tobias Smollett, and there's speculation that the ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
0 votes
0 answers
23 views

Significance of the different terms for Amaranthines in the Kingston Cycle

C. L. Polk's Kingston Cycle has the immortal Amaranthines, powerful magical beings who live in the afterlife. (Specifically, they rule in the Solace, which is where human souls go after death.) They'...
bobble's user avatar
  • 9,705