Percival

October 7, 2015 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Alternate spelling of “Perceval”, a name created for the poem Perceval, or the Story of the Grail, written in the 12th century by French poet Chrétian de Troyes; possibly influenced by the Old French for “to pierce the valley” or “to perceive the veil (of religious mystery)”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Parsifal, Parzifal, Perce, Perceval, Percevale, Percie, Percy, Percyvelle.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Percival Tweedie, the “eligible bachelor” silversmith who comes to join Lapham as partner after Johnny’s accident, in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).

WRITERS:
Percival Everett (b. 1956), American novelist, professor, and short story writer.
Percival Pickering (1865-1965), pen name of English author Anna Marie Wilhelmina (A.M.W.) Pickering.
Percival Pollard (1869-1911), American critic, novelist, and short story writer.
Percival Serle (1871-1951), Australian bibliographer and biographer.
Percival Spear (1901-1982), English educator, government worker, and historian.
Percival Stockdale (1736-1811), English poet, reformer, and writer.
Percival Wilde (1887-1953), American author and playwright.
Percival Christopher (P.C.) Wren (1875-1941), English author and educator.

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Galahad

July 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
A name of unknown origin used in the Arthurian romances (written in Norman French), and associated with the ideals of “purity” and “nobility”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Um . . . Gal, maybe? Eh, maybe not . . .

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Galahad, the rumored brother of Guinevere, one of the “irregular” children at Lily’s school, presumed to come from a “very well-educated if not sanitation-minded home”, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

Sven

May 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
From the Old Norse “Sveinn”, meaning “boy”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Soini, Svein, Sveinn, Svend, Svens

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Sven Hanson, Carrie’s solemn and austere brother-in-law in Chicago, in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie (published in 1900; set 1889-1890s).

WRITERS:
Sven Agessen (b. 1140-50-death unknown), Danish historian and writer.
Sven Delblanc (1931-1992), Swedish academic, author, professor, and translator.
Sven G. Eliassen (b. 1944), Norwegian historian.
Sven Elvestad (1884-1934), Norwegian author and journalist, who published mystery stories under the pen name “Stein Riverton”.
Sven Hassel (or Hazel; 1917-2012), pen name of Danish novelist Børge Willy Redsted Pedersen.
Sven Hedin (1865-1962), Swedish explorer, geographer, illustrator, photographer, topographer, and travel writer.
Sven Lidman (1882-1960), Swedish dramatist, novelist, poet, and preacher.
Sven Lidman (1921-2011), Swedish lexicographer and writer.
Sven Lindqvist (b. 1932), Swedish author and historian.
Sven Methling, Jr. (1918-2005), Danish director and screenwriter.
Sven Moren (1871-1938), Norwegian activist, author, children’s book writer, farmer, playwright, poet, and politician.
Sven Rosén (1708-1750), Swedish theologian and writer.
Sven Stolpe (1905-1996), Swedish critic, journalist, scholar, translator, and writer.

Geoffrey

October 4, 2014 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Alternate spelling of “Jeffrey”, from the French version of a Germanic name, meaning “peaceful land” or “peace of God”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Fredo, Geffrey, Geoff, Geoffroi, Geoffroy, Gjord, Godfrey, Godfried, Goffredo, Goraidh, Gottfrid, Gottfried, Jef, Jeff, Jefferson, Jeffery, Jeffrey, Jeffries, Jeffry, Jep, Jepson, Seafra, Sieffre, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Geoffrey Atte-Water, the little boy who. like Robin, must use crutches, and who gives Robin the nickname “Crookshanks”, in The Door in the Wall (written in 1949 and set sometime between 1327-1377), by Marguerite de Angeli.

WRITERS:
– Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1100-1155), Welsh cleric and chronicler.
– Geoffrey the Baker (died c. 1360), English chronicler, also known as Walter of Swinbroke.
– Geoffrey Blainey (b. 1930), Australian academic, commentator, historian, and philanthropist.
– Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343-1400), English poet, philosopher, alchemist, and astronomer, the “Father of English literature”.
– Geoffrey du Breuil of Vigeois (active 1170-1184), French cleric and chronicler.
– Geoffrey Elton (1921-1994), Anglo-German educator, historian and writer.
– Geoffrey Green (1911-1990), English sports writer.
– Geoffrey Household (1920-1988), English novelist.
– Geoffrey Jenkins (1920-2001), South African journalist, novelist, and screenwriter.
– Geoffrey Moorhouse (1931-2009), English author and journalist.
– Geoffrey Trease (1909-1998), English author.
– Geoffrey Willans (1911-1958), English author and journalist.

Robert

July 30, 2014 § 12 Comments

ORIGIN:
Anglo-Saxon, meaning “bright flame”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Bob, Bobbie, Bobby, Rab, Raibeart, Rob, Robb, Robbie, Robby, Roberto, Robi, Robin, Rupert, Ruprecht, etc. I guess even Bobert, if you really wish it.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Robert (called “Bob“, b. 1920), the eleventh of the dozen Gilbreth children whose upbringing is related in Cheaper By the Dozen (1948) and Belles on Their Toes (1950), written by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
Robert, the pageboy at Jim and Ned’s place, in “The Tragedy of the Unexpected”, from Nora Perry’s The Tragedy of the Unexpected and Other Stories (published in 1880, but set in the 1870s)
Sir Robert, an uncle to Edward, Fanny, and Robert Ferrars, who was responsible for Mrs. Ferrar’s decision to send Edward to Mr. Pratt’s for a private education, in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (set between 1792-1797, published in 1811).
Lord Robert of Amhurste (called “Robin” by his twin sister, Margaret), a brave and generous young man, in “A Brother to Dragons” (written in 1886, set in 1586), from A Brother to Dragons, and Other Old Time Tales (1888), by Amélie Rives.
Sir Robert Bampfylde, the litigious gentleman whose lawsuits led to Tom Faggus’ ruin and subsequent adoption of the highwayman’s life, in Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore (written in 1869, set in the 1670s-1680s).
Rev. Robert Brocklehurst, the formidable and hypocritical supervisor of Lowood Institute, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.
– Middle name of John Robert Creighton (b. 1837), Jethro’s oldest brother remaining at home, “more impatient, quicker to anger” than his beloved brother Bill, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).
Robert Ferrars, Edward’s favored younger brother, “silly and a great coxcomb”, in Sense and Sensibility.
Robert Furnival, old Lady Mary’s lawyer, who pesters her to write her will before it is too late, in “Old Lady Mary” (1884), from Stories of the Seen and Unseen by Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant.
Robert Leaven, the man Bessie Lee marries, who works as porter at Gateshead and lives in the lodge, in Jane Eyre.
Robert Martin, a sensible, respectable, intelligent young gentleman-farmer, who hopes to marry Harriet Smith, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
Robert Racket (called “Robin“), a handsome and charming lad who steals the hearts of cousins Keren Lemon and Ruth Visor, in “The Farrier Lass o’ Piping Pebworth” (written in 1887, set circa 1600), from A Brother to Dragons, and Other Old Time Tales.
Robert Siddell, one of Uncle Gabe’s two favorite students at his Jewish vocational school, chosen as a blind date for teenaged Lily, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

WRITERS:
Go here for a list of probably close to a thousand writers named “Robert”, if you’d like to know what sort of illustrious literary company this name keeps.

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