T.S. Eliot once said: “Our high respect for a well read person is praise enough for literature.” So if you really want to show off what a smarty-pants you are, consider these names steeped in literary richness. Literature is the art of storytelling which has brought civilized society a sense of, well, civilization. Homer and Virgil gave us the great epic works of the Greeks and Romans. The French gave us such works ranging from the medieval Song of Roland to The Hunchback to Notre Dame to Madame Bovary. The Italians blessed us with The Divine Comedy (Dante) and the poetry of Petrarch; while the Spanish revived the code of chivalry with Don Quixote de La Mancha. Of course no one was more influential among the English than William Shakespeare who single-handedly supplied us with a bevy of illustrious literary characters (Juliet, Olivia, Kate, Portia, Rosalind, Romeo, Demetrius and Orlando to name a few). American writers have made vast contributions with character names like Sawyer, Finn, Holden, Atticus, Scout, Scarlett and Rhett. American parents are also embracing the authors themselves as we see such names with increasing usage on the charts today as Emerson, Beckett, Truman, Dylan and Harper. Not quite as high-brow, parents are also drawn to the names of beloved fictional children’s book characters like Anne of the Green Gables, Heidi, Madeleine, Peter Pan and Curious George.
The books that we read, and the characters with whom we fall in love, move us profoundly. Many of these characters embody the virtues, values or general feistiness we wouldn't mind seeing in our children. C.S. Lewis once said: “Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.” And so by using a name strongly associated with an important literary figure or an author who we greatly admire, we hope to enrich the life of our own children. Plus, if we’re honest, it also shows off our intellectual values as well.