Monday, November 14, 2011

Katniss Backlash

I recently declared that Katniss is not a real name (here).  A couple major things have occurred since that post.

First, I started reading The Hunger Games.  I've only finished a few chapters, so I can't yet tell you if I love it or hate it.  But, I can tell you that I'm enjoying it much more than I did the first book of The Twilight Saga.  This has no connection to whether Katniss is a real name, but I thought it was worth following up on.
Second, I've since looked into the number of names that have been derived from written works.  There are tons.  This just makes sense.  Before there were telephones, television or internet, people communicated through writing - newspapers, poetry, letters and books.  In addition to spreading ideas and information, written communication introduced and popularized names.  While I'm not going to take back my declaration (because I'm stubborn and I wouldn't personally name my child Katniss), I will share a few details of my findings. 

Jessica.  The first documented use of the name Jessica was in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.  Who knew?  Bill Shakespeare also created the name Miranda in his work, The Tempest.  The name Pamela was invented by Sir Philip Sidney in The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia.  Poet Jonathan Swift originated the name Vanessa for his 1713 poem "Cadenus and Vanessa".

There are also a handful of names were made popular, though not invented, by a writer.  Wendy.  You've heard of this name, yes?  J.M. Barrie popularized the name Wendy in his little known book, Peter and Wendy (the story of Peter Pan).  Charlotte Bronte popularized the name Shirley in her novel entitled Shirley.  Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, didn't invent the word Katniss, but she will most certainly be responsible for popularizing it as a name.

Katniss is a plant. 
Here is a guide on how to grow the katniss plant...
if that strikes your fancy.
(image here)


Chrissy said...

Besides trying to name our baby Rocket, my hubby also made up plenty of names. He always reminded me that someone made up all of our names at one point.

Hunger Games is intense. I read them all in a couple of days and probably should have slept more. The trailer just made me cry, so I'm thinking this level of intensity is not good for hormonal pregnant or breastfeeding moms. Enjoy!

I still don't like the name Katniss (outside of the Katniss in the Hunger Games, who is awesome).

Jessica said...

I never knew that Jessica came from Shakespeare - love it! I'm pretty sure my parents named me after the Allman Brothers song though.

My husband also likes to make up names for our future babies, as well as choose names that are words, but not names. So far I've vetoed Ekman, Physic, Grand, and West.

Leah (it's me) said...

I love husbands with the "interesting" name ideas.

Chrissy - I'm also flying through The Hunger Games. I watched the movie preview (on my computer) last night and...dare I excited?!

Jessica - Please tell your husband that I actually like the name West! It was the name of one of the bachelors vying for Bachelorette Ashley Herbert's heart and it gave me pause but I ultimately decided I liked it.