Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Literary Quirks

5 authors with unusual names

1. Wystan Hugh Auden

"Wystan" is an Anglo-Saxon name. The poet's father was born in Repton, Derbyshire, where the bones of St Wystan, a ninth-century Mercian prince and Christian martyr, once lay.

2. Rudyard Kipling

The author of "The Jungle Book" was given his unusual first name because his parents had met at picnic at Rudyard Lake in Staffordshire. They loved the place so much they named their first-born son after it.

3. Aphra Behn

Supposedly the first woman in England to earn a living from writing, Aphra Behn was named afetr a Hebrew town in the Old Testament. In Hebrew, the word means "house of dust".

4. Ngaio Marsh

The crime novelist, creator of the upper-crust detective Roderick Alleyn, was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1899 and her name derives from a Maori word meaning "reflections on the water".

5. Aldous Huxley

"Aldous" derives from an old German word meaning "old" or "wise". Used as a name in the Middle Ages, it had become very rare by 1894, when editor and critic Leonard Huxley chose it for his youngest son.


Chris said...

Very interesting, CT. It seems to me that place names are the key to having an interesting name of your own. Maybe David Beckham wasn't so dumb after all when he named his child 'Brooklyn'?!?

One other thing: sorry to hijack your blog and everything, but there's a couple of great articles on words and language around the world on the BBC site. Here are the addresses to go to - have a look and see what you think!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Chris!
I am writing, copying actually, a post about the loss of languages every year... hope you'll see it in some days, it's pretty long but worth reading.