Juan

November 6, 2014 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
Spanish form of “John“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Ganix, Jan, Joan, Juanito, Xuan, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Juan Tellamantez (called “Spanish Johnny“), a talented guitar player, one of the Mexican workmen who befriend Thea in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).

WRITERS:
– Juan Andrés y Morell (1740-1817), Spanish Jesuit author, critic, humanist, and priest..
– Juan José Arreola (1918-2001), Mexican humorist and writer.
– Juan Benet (1927-1993), Spanish writer.
– Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958), Spanish poet.
– Juan Antonio Llorente (1756-1823), Spanish historian and writer.
– Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena (1282-1348), Spanish writer.
– Juan Francisco Manzano (1797-1854), Cuban author.
– Juan Montalvo (1832-1889), Ecuadorian author and essayist.
– Juan Carlos Onetti (1909-1994), Uruguayan novelist and short story writer.
– Juan Ruiz, Archpriest of Hita (ca. 1283-ca. 1350), Spanish poet.
– Juan Perez Rulfo (1918-1986), Mexican novelist and short story writer.
– Juan Luis Vives (1493-1540), Spanish humanist, scholar, and writer.
– Juan Rodolfo Wilcock (1919-1978), Argentinian critic, poet, translator, and writer.

James

August 2, 2014 § 14 Comments

ORIGIN:
From the same source as “Jacob”, from Hebrew, meaning “supplanter”, or possibly, “may God protect”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Giacomo, Hamish, Iago, Jae, Jacques, Jago, Jai, Jaime, Jaimie, Jamie, Jameson, Jamieson, Jamey, Jay, Jaymes, Jeames, Jem, Jemmy, Jim, Jimbo, Jimi, Jimmie, Jimmy, Jimsy, Seamus, Shamus, Sheamus, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
James, the manservant at 999 Marlborough Street, in “Ally”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
James, butler for the Joy family while in Newport, in A Little Country Girl (1885), by Susan Coolidge.
James, Mr. Woodhouse’s coachman in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
James, one of the Boston children roused to their chores at the start of Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).
James Cooper, whose wife is one of those married friends from Bath that Augusta Elton cites as an example of how married women always give up their pursuit of music, in Emma.
James Alexander, the alias chosen by the con man who persecutes Georgie Gray and Berry Joy in A Little Country Girl.
– James Crawley (sometimes called “Jim“), one of the Rev. Bute Crawley’s sons in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
James Alexander Creighton (1849-1852), one of the three young Creighton boys who died of “paralysis” the year Jethro was born, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).
James Marlowe (called “Jim“), the impetuous young man whose impulsive nature leads to a sorrowful mix-up, 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)
James McMull, the “young sprig of Scotch nobility” Miss Rhoda Swartz ends up marrying after Mr. Osborne fails to add her to his family, in Vanity Fair.

WRITERS:
– See this post for a long list of writers named James dating all the way back to the thirteenth century.

Thomas

August 2, 2014 § 7 Comments

ORIGIN:
Greek form of the Aramaic for “twin”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Maas, Tam, Tavish, Thom, Tom, Toma, Tomas, Tommaso, Tommie, Tommy, Twm, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Thomas, the Dashwood’s manservant at Barton Cottage, in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (set between 1792-1797, published in 1811).
Thomas, a local boy Robin went to school with, in The Door in the Wall (written in 1949 and set sometime between 1327-1377), by Marguerite de Angeli.
Brother Thomas, one of the monks at St. Mark’s, in The Door in the Wall.
Thomas Burk (called “T.B.”), Dr. Archie’s secretary in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).
Thomas Cockram, the foreman of Reuben Huckabuck’s shop, who has designs on young Ruth, in Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore (written in 1869, set in the 1670s-1680s).
Sir Thomas Coffin, “celebrated as a hanging judge”, in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Thomas Ward Creighton (called “Tom“; b. 1843), Jethro’s older brother, who, at just 18 years of age, runs off to join the Union Army, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).
Thomas Dover, missionary neighbor of the Misses Carey, in “Little Button-Rose”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
Thomas Faggus (called “Tom“), the roguishly charming highwayman whose relation to the Ridd family gives them both prestige and trouble, in Lorna Doone.
Thomas Hancock, Mr. Hancock’s uncle, who originally ordered the silver set Mr. Hancock asks Mr. Lapham to make a replacement piece for, in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).
Dr. Thomas Harrison (called “Doctor Tom“), who specializes in mending children’s hurt limbs, in “The Story of Little Syl”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories.
Thomas Hooper, a schoolboy who is in John’s corner during his fight with Robin Snell, in Lorna Doone.
Sir Thomas Liverseege, Governor of Coventry Island before his death opens the position up for Rawdon Crawley to take advantage of, in Vanity Fair.
Thomas Palmer, husband of Mrs. Jennings’ daughter ebullient daughter Charlotte, in Sense and Sensibility.
Rev. Thomas Tuffin has a daughter at Miss Pinkerton’s Academy, in Vanity Fair.

WRITERS:
– Thomas Alexander Browne (1826-1915), English author who sometimes published under the pen name “Rolf Boldrewood”.
– Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, historian, philosopher, and satiricist.
– Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859), English essayist.
– Thomas Stearns (T.S.) Eliot (1888-1965), English critic, essayist, poet, and playwright.
– Thomas Gray (1716-1771), English poet and writer.
– Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), English novelist and poet.
– Thomas Hood (1799-1845), English humorist and poet.
– Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471), German clergyman and writer.
– Thomas Edward (T.E.) Lawrence (1888-1935), British army officer and writer.
– Thomas Macaulay (1800-1859), British historian
– Thomas Mann (1875-1955), German writer.
– Thomas Merton (1915-1968), American activist, monk, mystic, poet, and writer.
– Thomas Moore (1779-1852), Irish poet and songwriter.
– Thomas More (1478-1535), English author and statesman.
– Thomas Paine (1737-1809), British-American author and revolutionary.
– Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938), American novelist.

Laura

July 31, 2014 § 6 Comments

ORIGIN:
From Latin, meaning “laurel”. Feminine variant of “Laurence” / “Lawrence“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Lallie, Lally, Lara, Laraine, Laure, Laureen, Laurel, Lauren, Laurene, Lauressa, Lauretta, Laurette, Laurey, Laurie, Laurinda, Laurine, Laurissa, Laurita, Laury, Lavra, Llora, Lollie, Lolly, Lora, Loreen, Loren, Lorene, Loretta, Lorette, Lori, Lorie, Lorinda, Lorita, Lorraine, Lorri, Lorrie, Lory, Lowri, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Laura, the fake name used by Berry Joy and Georgie Gray to play their Lonely Hearts prank, in A Little Country Girl (1885), by Susan Coolidge.
Laura, the “fairy princess” Ted Shaffer plans to marry, in “In a Rag-Bag”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories by Nora Perry (1889).
Laura Brooks (sometimes called “Brooksie”), who refuses to give up her friendship with Esther, in spite of the judgment and disdain her friends and family may heap upon her head, in “Esther Bodn”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Laura Delano, an invalid who sells her artwork to try and support herself and her sister, Jessie, in “An Ivy Spray and Ladies’ Slippers”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
Laura Fleming, Ally’s cousin, who perhaps expects too much, in “Ally”, from A Flock of Girls and Boys.
Laura Martin, a little orphan girl who worships Amelia Sedley during her time at Miss Pinkerton’s academy in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Laura Selwyn, one of Marian’s cousins, who knows all about the trick, in “An April Fool”, from A Flock of Girls and Boys.

WRITERS:
Check out this post for a starter list of writers named “Laura”.

QUOTATIONS:
– From “To My Brothers” by Norman Rowland Gale: “O brothers, who must ache and stoop / O’er wordy tasks in London-town, / How scantly Laura trips for you — / A poem in a gown!”

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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