Literary Names: Personal Names in English Literature

Paperback | June 16, 2014

byAlastair Fowler

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Why do authors use pseudonyms and pen-names, or ingeniously hide names in their work with acrostics and anagrams? How has the range of permissible given names changed and how is this reflected in literature? Why do some characters remain mysteriously nameless? In this rich and learned book,Alastair Fowler explores the use of names in literature of all periods - primarily English but also Latin, Greek, French, and Italian - casting an unusual and rewarding light on the work of literature itself. He traces the history of names through Homer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Thackeray,Dickens, Joyce, and Nabokov, showing how names often turn out to be the thematic focus. Fowler shows that the associations of names, at first limited, become increasingly salient and sophisticated as literature itself develops.

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Why do authors use pseudonyms and pen-names, or ingeniously hide names in their work with acrostics and anagrams? How has the range of permissible given names changed and how is this reflected in literature? Why do some characters remain mysteriously nameless? In this rich and learned book,Alastair Fowler explores the use of names in l...

Alastair Fowler is Regius Professor Emeritus of Edinburgh University, and was previously Professor of English at the University of Virginia. For many years he divided his time between the United States and Britain, where he now lives. His publications include an annotated edition of Paradise Lost (1968); Kinds of Literature (1982); an...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.01 inPublished:June 16, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198709684

ISBN - 13:9780198709688

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAbbreviationsIntroduction1. Naming in History2. Modes of Naming3. The Faerie Queene4. Hidden Names5. Shakespeare6. Milton's Changing Names7. Assumed and Imposed Names8. Thackeray and Dickens9. Arrays10. Joyce and NabokovAfterwordReferencesGlossaryIndex

Editorial Reviews

"[an] engagingly and sometimes overflowingly serendipitous book ... lively and informative ... generally delightful" --Claude Rawson, Times Literary Supplement