Vampire Chic: The Names of Twilight

Nov 18th 2009

Nothing has greater potential to move baby name style than a teen/tween craze. Just think, thanks to Harry Potter a whole generation on the cusp of procreation now sees Hermione as brainy and Luna as looney. Yet the Hogwarts crew has been limited in its baby name impact, because author J.K. Rowling wasn't targeting fashion with her names. Like Charles Dickens, Rowling crafted eccentric character names for mood, meaning and laughs.

Rowling's successor atop the children's best seller lists has chosen a more fashion-forward path. That makes Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series a potential earthshaker in the baby name landscape.

If you've somehow managed to miss the Twilight phenomenon, it sets up as your classic girl-meets-vampire moon-crossed romance. Your leading lady is Bella, the most symbolic name in the series. It connects to the Beauty and the Beast tradition (La Belle et la Bête), adjusted for 21st-century teenager style. Bella's undead beau is Edward, lending a new edge to that neglected classic. Other characters come in handy name groups: ordinary teenagers named Mike, Lauren and Jessica; dads named Charlie and Billy. But the real naming clout of the series belongs to the supporting vampires.

Meet Edward Cullen's family: Alice, Carlisle, Esme, Emmett, Jasper, and Rosalie. They're not blood relatives, at least not in the traditional sense. They're a close-knit undead clan, with birth dates ranging from the 1640s (Carlisle) to 1935 (Emmett).

Some of the names are more historically plausible than others. Carlisle is unlikely for a 17th-century Englishman, while an Alice would have sounded natural in Biloxi, Mississippi in 1901. They all do have some striking features in common, though. Note their vowel-heavy sounds, more typical of the 21st Century than the 19th. Note also that none of the names ranked among the 400 most popular for boys or girls in 2005, the year that both Twilight and The Baby Name Wizard were first published.

Here are quotes on some of the Cullen family names from that first edition of BNW: "Name watchers report increased sightings of this rare bird among the literary and artistic elite." "Has the kind of mischievous charm that makes all the girls swoon." "Expect to see the name come back first in the tony urban neighborhoods where Lucy and Henry are hits."

As a group, these vampiric names defined cutting-edge urban/artsy style. They were selected to set the family apart from their supposed high school peers. The names helped make the Cullens both alluring and intimidating, a scary, sophisticated clique impenetrable to kids with names like Mike and Jessica.

Since 2005 the names Alice, Emmett and Jasper have all risen significantly in popularity. Esme and Rosalie are poised to crack the top 1000 for 2009, Rosalie for the first time in decades and Esme for the first time ever. In part, this doubtless reflects the influence of the books themselves. But as always, the name matters more than the fame. Stephenie Meyer chose those names to be so cool that they would sparkle in the sunlight, and live forever.

Comments

1
November 18, 2009 11:41 AM

On the flip side of the coin, you have parents who deliberately shy away from these names because they're Twilight names. Which strikes me as both snobbish and nonsensical. Would not liking Harry Potter scare you off the name Harry? Well, maybe it would. But I think it's silly. We're not talking the names of war criminals. We're talking the names of fictional good guys!

2
By SM (not verified)
November 18, 2009 11:50 AM

Stephanie Meyer just answered a fan question about this recently:
How did you come up with the Twilight character names, were they random or did you have a reason behind them? - Carly

I'm not a huge research junkie, because I'm always more into creating the fantasy than the reality, but names are one of the things I do spend some research time on. For example, for Jasper's name I searched roll calls for the confederate army in Texas. Both "Jasper" and "Whitlock" are on those lists, but not together. The name Cullen exists on seventeenth century English headstones. Other names I find by time and place of birth—I look through the most baby popular names from that year or census records from that city. Some things are more random; if I'm really stuck for a surname, I'll flip through the phone book. For Edward, I wanted a name that had once been very romantic, but had fallen out of use (See: Edward Rochester, Edward Ferrars). Bella was the hardest for me to name, because I needed a modern name but nothing seemed to encompass her personality. I tried a lot of things that didn't fit at all. In the end, having just surrendered the hope of ever having a daughter, I gave her the name I would have given one of my children if any of them had decided to be a girl.
http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/

3
By Aria (not verified)
November 18, 2009 12:09 PM

it is sad that folks will shy away from the names, but I have to admit I would be likely to as well... I loved the books, but the hype and the teeny boppers running around going crazy over Robert Pattinson are really turning me off the fandom...

Would be much more likely to give a child a middle name from Harry Potter than I would Twilight... at least for now - if things calm back down - i tend to like traditional names like Edward truthfully - but I would be cautious against using it at this point...

4
By jennifer h (not verified)
November 18, 2009 12:12 PM

I'm writing a novel right now and just last night I was all, why did I put BNW2 in the closet. It's very interesting to me the process people go through in naming characters of a novel. I have found it to be one of the most difficult and time consuming processes thus far.

I do love the names Meyer chose for the vampires. Very memorable. I can see them really taking off in say five years after the hoopla has died down a bit. Using them right now would inevitably draw the "as in Twilight?" reference.

5
November 18, 2009 12:22 PM

Please don't take this as an obnoxious comment, but I only remember because I just read it last night: Emmett's birthday was the last one they celebrated and that was in 1935. If he was changed then at the age of ~18, he was born around ~1917.

I swear I'm not a Twihard! :D I just thought I'd read the book before the movie this weekend.

On the topic at hand, I love the name Emmett! And I would add it to 'the list' if I didn't think everyone would assume the Twilight connection. I also think Esme would look adorable on a little girl, but it's also pretty womanly - but not too old.

So, the Twilight connection... I don't think it's silly to shy away from it; I feel silly for reading the books, which makes me shy away from these names. You barely have to mention 'Twilight' or 'Stephenie Meyer' for someone to mention how these aren't 'good' well-written books. BUT I really like the story and the impossible romance. I just don't want anyone to know it. Like my grandma who hid her Harlequins. If I chose these names, it would be directly because of these books. That just doesn't work for me. Like many parents to be, I would search for some semblance of originality.

Harry Potter's names are usually too out there and unique to not make the connection (Hermione, Luna, Dumbledore, Severus, Sirius) or somewhat ordinary, so that they could come from anywhere (Most of the Weasley family, Poppy, Sybill, Viktor, Peter, James, Lily). Actually one of my girls WILL have the name of one character: Verity (She worked in Fred in George's shop). And I stumbled across it for the first time in the 6th book. It just clicked - so beautiful, Puritan name, lovely "V", goes really well with our last name.

So I don't discount fiction's ability to provide names - but many, if not most, parents will tread carefully.

6
By Guest (not verified)
November 18, 2009 12:23 PM

Well I realize that Meyer looked in a variety places for inspiration of names... however, it's still odd to me that she seemed to hit a particular style button- names that were definitely circulating on baby naming websites.
Actually, I have had all these names on my list when choosing names for my children: Jasper, Alice, Edward, and we actually did use Esme. Personally, I am not a fan of Twilight but I didn't let that shy me away from my favorite name. Thankfully, I can point to the fact that the name has a history before Twilight and will be around long after the fad is over.

7
November 18, 2009 12:46 PM

Before the first Twilight movie had been released and the craze started I had both Esmé and Emmett on my list. They both were longstanding loves that I will likely never use because my SO and I don't like that they are so tied to the Twilight craze.

Now, unfortunately my list has been so pared down that there are only three names SO and I have agreed on:
Genevieve, Verity and Noam. I refuse to give in to accepting Olivia and he refuses to allow August on the list.

8
By jt (not verified)
November 18, 2009 12:57 PM

I'm not sure it will take 5 years, as jennifer h said, for these names to take off, as so many Twilight fans are of child-bearing age already. I have so many friends reading these books that I'm not sure they can be called "teeny-bopper" anymore.

I've never read any of the books and just found out yesterday that Emmett is a character. It was on my short list when I had my baby almost 4 months ago. We didn't choose it, but I think I would be annoyed that people would ask me if I named him after the Twilight character simply because I wasn't even aware that it was a character in the book. I'd be much more okay with people making the connection if I was actually a fan.

9
By Guest (not verified)
November 18, 2009 1:05 PM

Am I really that naive to the enormity of the Twilight craze? Granted, I'm 30, but only 1 person in my circle has read any of the books or seen the movies. If I mentioned the name Emmett to DH, he'd think I was talking about Emmitt Smith (the football player - which is a good thing). Honestly, I would have no idea these names were related to the book if I didn't see them mentioned on this site so often.

10
By Guest (not verified)
November 18, 2009 1:17 PM

For some reason, I don't see these names taking off the way they are expected to. Older parents are trending towards old-fashioned names anyway. But won't the tastes of teens/tweens who are fans of the book change by the time most of them become parents? My favorite names as a teen in the 90's were probably Brad, Chad and Corey. On the flip side, I'd think teens who have babies at a younger age would be more likely to choose a contemporary or trendy name.

11
By MLE (not verified)
November 18, 2009 1:29 PM

I'm going to be really mad if our first pick for a boy's name (Edward, nn Ned, a family name on my husband's side) ends up being associated with the Twilight books. We haven't read them, haven't seen the movies, have no interest in them, and we've been talking about names for years.

I'm pretty sensitive to stuff like this, since I'm an Emily who was born in 1979, when it was far more rare, and I've spent the last 15 years feeling like my name has been co-opted every time I'm in a public place with a lot of little kids around.

We're TTC right now, and would really like to use Edward if we have a boy, but the Twilight connection kind of sucks.

12
By CB, nli (not verified)
November 18, 2009 2:06 PM

My preference for baby names is that my children have names they can "own". I don't personally care for "made-up" or kre8tif names, so what I like are 1) generic, but not currently popular, 2) unexpected, but "real", and 3) distinct family names or surnames.

That said, I don't see Edward, Alice, or Harry, which fall into the first category, as being changed by the books. Too much history, too much usage for the books to take over the names. I might be slightly worried that they'd shoot to the top ten, but until that happens, I'd say they stay on the table.

Names like Esme and Hermione, which would've fallen into the second category, I say, change because of the books. They no longer seem "unexpected" and lack any other common association. I can see that for some parents, that might be a plus. They are still nice names, but different somehow.

I can see that parents who are shooting for the uncommon, and somewhat unknown, in their name choices will be crossing Esme off their lists, because she no longer fits the bill. However, for people who don't pour over baby name books and sites, it's a nice addition to the mental baby name pool. It's lovely, easy, fresh, and not a far step from Emma, et al. I see it having a lot of pull.

And I haven't read the books or seen the movies. Just aware of them.

13
By Birgitte (not verified)
November 18, 2009 2:14 PM

MLE, if you call him by his NN, I believe very few will make any Twilight connection. Edward was up and coming in Scandinavia before these books too, by the way.

14
By Jillc (not verified)
November 18, 2009 2:47 PM

I have read all the books (I started and couldn't stop). I do expect these names to see an uptick soon because, as someone said, many Twilight fans are of child-bearing age already (I'm 31). It's a perfect storm of sorts -- the popularity of old names plus the wide exposure of these particular names. And, as Laura said, these are the kinds of old names that are trendy.

I suspect parents who don't frequent this website will use these names without thinking too much about it. It will be less "Edward is so dreamy; I'm going to name my baby Edward" and more "I came across the name Edward in a book and I really liked the name".

15
By Jillc (not verified)
November 18, 2009 2:49 PM

That said, I don't think any particular name will be associated with Twilight in the long term. Unless you choose more than one of them for your children.

16
By Tirzah, not logged in (not verified)
November 18, 2009 3:00 PM

If Harry isn't automatically tied to Harry Potter, then Edward is not going to be tied to Twilight.

I think women of childbearing age are reading the books. They are just more secretive about it. I have two good friends in their 40's who are obsessed with the books. In addition, I went to a work reception just this week and found out that several of my co-workers wives are really into the books and are crazy excited about the new movie coming out.

I think the author did a good job of picking names on the rise.

17
By PJ
November 18, 2009 3:04 PM

Other than Reneesme ( which I only know about from this board, I couldn't finish reading the series, bleh) I don't think these names are stuck with the Twilight association. As Laura said, Ms. Meyers tapped into what is already cool and fashionable and just boosted the popularity. I think they will be like Willow, Xander and Cordelia, all of which got a boost from the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If I met a young child today with one of those names that show wouldn't be my first thought and I think the same will be true for the Twilight names.

18
By Katya (not verified)
November 18, 2009 3:25 PM

I humbly suggest, try not to worry too much about a long-term connection to Twilight for any of these names.

I was pg with my first child when Julia Roberts named her twins, and immediately scratched Hazel from the top of our list. We revisited the issue during my second pregnancy -- I still had concerns about "the whole Julia Roberts thing", but my husband talked some sense into me, saying "when our daughter is 20, or even when she's 5, is anyone going to remember that association?"

Only one person asked me if it was "like Julia Roberts" -- a family member, who I think was intentionally trying to needle me b/c she didn't like the name!

All these Twilight names stand on their own, IMO.

19
By Keren not signed in (not verified)
November 18, 2009 5:52 PM

Only one mention of Renesmee - surely the most distinctive Twilight name. I actually love what Stephenie Meyer did there - she captured the daffy creativeness of ateenage mum perfectly. I hated everything else about Breaking Dawn, but the name Renesmee was spot on and very funny.

I can't get over Carlisle as a supposedly 16th century English name. In England Carlisle is a place. Not a name.

20
By philyre (not verified)
November 18, 2009 6:03 PM

Some names that are rare before a book comes out become very closely associated with that book thereafter, and remain closely associated even many years later. I would definitely not assume that those associations would blow over quickly.

That association isn't a bad thing, however, provided you think the character in the book is a worthy namesake. Wouldn't work for a name that you got from a book that you consider a guilty pleasure, but if it's a work of fiction that you don't mind publicly endorsing your enjoyment of... why not?

Jolyon is an example of one of those names very strongly associated with a particular book, only it's now about a hundred years after the Forsyte Saga was published. While the name is medieval in origin, it was singlehandedly revived from obscurity by Galsworthy's novels. It's still a really rare name, yes, but does get used occasionally in Britain.

It's also the name we gave our son. When people we introduce him to have heard the name before (which isn't often, but it does happen a bit), they immediately connect it to the Forsyte Saga - either book or tv adaptations or both. I don't only not mind the fact that the connection can be made by others, but I really like it. The multiple Jolyons in the story are a really strong characters. We picked the name because we loved the sound and nicknames, but also because we felt it was a really wonderful namesake in a story we both love.

Picking a literary namesake is in some ways rather like picking a namesake from your family. I personally would only do it if I actually really supported the character/person being honored. For some "because I liked the sound" is enough of a link, though, and that's also fine!

I was named after my parents' favorite song, and I always have enjoyed the fact that it gives me a special connection to my name, beyond "we thought it sounded nice". I hope Jolyon grows up to feel the same way about being named after one of my favorite novels... and if not, he can always just be Joe.

21
By philyre (not verified)
November 18, 2009 6:10 PM

To clarify, I agree with CB, nli about the fact that the continued association applies to names that were obscure in useage before being picked up by the work of fiction, or that didn't have any other prominent association. Alice, for instance, now gets split with Twilight and Lewis Carroll in my head, which I actually think dilutes any particular association in my mind.

Anyway, I wouldn't let it stop me from naming a daughter Hermione. :)

22
By Ash (not verified)
November 18, 2009 6:23 PM

I agree that, with the exception of Reneesme, these names are not excessively linked with the Twilight series unless used together. Similar, I would say, to Meg, Beth, Jo and Amy. Or Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine, and Lydia. Or a million other "subtle theme" sets we have thrown around here.

The other question is how much longevity the Twilight series will have. Yes, they very really addicting (for reasons that I don't personally understand, but I know many intelligent women who love them, so I'm not judging) to teens and women now (childbearing age!), but I suspect it's a fad and in a few years they will be more a memory than anything else, having been replaced by a new fad. I just don't think they have that kind of staying power. Time, however, may prove me wrong.

23
November 18, 2009 6:23 PM

Hey, Laura, I just realized, you left out one very important name--Jacob, Edward's rival for Bella's affections. True, it would be hard for Jacob to get *more* popular, but the association with a hot and heroic werewolf can't hurt.

24
November 18, 2009 7:27 PM

I would shy away from using a Twilight name (although by the time I'm of childbearing age the hype will be down, I'm sure) because I publicly dislike the books (used to love them, then hated them, now I'm indifferent). I sort of hated Renesmee when I read Breaking Dawn because I felt it was too made up and by that point I sort of stopped caring about the books anymore. I wouldn't use a literary name that was too blatantly obvious, like Hermione or Albus, but a more subtle one, James or Lily (but not together), I would do. I'm only using Harry Potter as an example because I love them, and it's the first thing I could think of, but I probably wouldn't use an HP name at all because it would probably be too "out there".

@ LibbyLibrarian: I thought of that too, but I feel like Jacob Black can't possibly be anyone's only association with the name Jacob... well it's unlikely at least.

25
By knp (not verified)
November 18, 2009 8:02 PM

zoerhenne, re:Case. It surprised me too. she is a former high school classmate, so I don't know too much. They are pretty rural.. ?

26
November 18, 2009 10:18 PM

If I was a bit younger and thinking about having a child in the next few years, I might give consideration to these names because I had heard them so much. I have not read the books or seen the movies (vampires are not my thing) but have heard much about them in the media. Edward, Alice and the other more generic names are increasing in popularity due to the books and the old-is-new trend. Renesmee and Dumbledore are not. So naming your child Edward may get a few questions nowadays, but in the long run will be just a name down the road. Renesmee will most likely always be an oddity and tied to Twilight whether the future generations are aware of it or not.

27
November 18, 2009 10:36 PM

If Twilight fans wish to use these names then that's fine. They're fine names if you don't mind the connotations.

Personally, I would avoid a 'Twilight' name for any children born in the near future. I pride myself on my taste in literature and would not this to be brought into question by anyone.

28
November 18, 2009 11:27 PM

i can see both sides.

on one hand, i admit that my instinct would be to shrink from using a name associated with twilight. i have read the books, and while i understand why many people find them appealing, for me they are lacking in some key areas.

on the other hand, i don't think that in the long run edward, alice, jasper, emmett, rosalie, etc will be forever "twilight names". even today, twilight is not my primary association with any of them, and i think that association will continue to fade. i think they're just too familiar and have too much history to be totally hijacked by twilight.

29
November 18, 2009 11:56 PM

@ emilyrae: I completely agree with you, I think that it completely depends on when you name a child a Twilight name. Even if Edward Cullen was who you're son Edward was named after, but he was born in 2015, chances are Twilight-mania will have settled and that won't be most people's first association. Or, if you named him after Grandpa Edward now, in ten years, Edward Cullen won't be people's main association. I do think that a name like Renesmee, however, will always be associated with Twilight. The characters also aren't my first associations with any of the names, except Rosalie, Carlisle, and to some extent Bella, but less so.

30
November 19, 2009 12:09 AM

a rose,
oh, definitely renesmee is all twilight and i assume that it always will be. when someone here mentioned a while back that they had seen it in some birth announcements, it kind of blew my mind--and not in a good way. but i guess if you *do* want to honor the books, there's no better way to do so, as it is the name most strongly connected to the books (in my opinion).

31
By Jane, Mother of Five (not verified)
November 19, 2009 12:36 AM

Off all the names in Harry Potter or Twilight, the one I've seriously considered is Ginny. I just love it. Maybe for Genevieve or Imogene.

32
By Jane, Mother of Five (not verified)
November 19, 2009 12:37 AM

meant "of" obviously. Not "off."

33
November 19, 2009 1:01 AM

@ emilyrae: I completely agree, if I wanted to honor the books I'd do Renesmee, and I guess Edward Jacob for a boy... I actually have a friend who's name is Jacob Edward ln, he obviously was born before Twilight came out, but now with all of it, it's kind of funny.

@ Jane, Mother of Five: I love the name Ginny. Genevieve I love (not so much Imogene) and Ginny Weasley's real fn, Ginevra, I think is really nice as well. I also love the name Harry. And Henry, I would totally use Harry as a nn for Henry. I realize that's where it originated, but I would use it even though I feel like it's fallen out of fashion (all of the Henrys I know go by their full fn).

34
By Ele Bue (not verified)
November 19, 2009 7:14 AM

Count me as a snobbish prospective parent who would likely stay away from Twilight names! ;)

I've long loved the name Esmé for a girl, and was heartbroken when the books became so popular. I might feel differently if I was a fan, but I really dislike the books (have only read the first one, though). I agree that the names are too familiar/traditional to be completely hijacked by Twilight, but I'm not sure I can get past the negative association I have with them. Time will tell, though!

I'd probably also shy away from Harry Potter names, but for different reasons. They're so much more unusual than the Twilight ones, and I think some of them veer into "can't touch this" territory. So while I love the books, I don't think I could name a little girl Hermione.

35
November 19, 2009 9:51 AM

It's an interesting question, if you did not ever know about the name Esme for example or Hermione, would you upon learning about them through reading the book or watching the movie then subsequently love them? I think it's all about the style of the name. Some ppl are already drawn to those kinds of names. For me I am not, so even if I loved the books I would probably NOT choose them. Edward, Jacob and maybe Alice and Emmett are more my style and I might be swayed to putting them on a list based on a favorite character from wherever. Or conversely take them off the list for similar reasons.

36
By Eo (not verified)
November 19, 2009 10:45 AM

vomiting-- Good point!

I'm glad some parents might think twice about giving names associated with this phenomenon.

What I find personally unfortunate is that certain grown-ups and adolescents are so beguiled by "vampire culture".

I would glean name ideas from lots of sources, including both literature and even pop culture (of a lot of different eras), but, this whole overboard fascination with occult-ish things does not impress... Just my own 'umble opinion, of course.

But do agree that names like Alice and Edward are so firmly in the public domain that parents should feel free to use them without worrying about unwanted associations.

philyre-- I always liked "Jolyon" of "Forsyte Saga" fame as well. And "Fleur" was another one that appeals very much. Galsworthy was quite the NE...

Here's a pop culture series I WOULD filch names from-- the "Poldark" series of novels and later British TV series by Winston Graham. It's also far enough back in time to make it "legit" to glean names from, in my strict little view of these things!

Set in eighteenth century Cornwall, it boasted a conflicted, charismatic hero in Ross Poldark, and it just oozed Cornish atmosphere.

His true love was the independent, temperamental "Demelza", which I think was originally a place name, but instantly became one of my favorite Cornish female names...

37
November 19, 2009 11:03 AM

Many, many congratulations for Cordelia Fae and Sorcha Verity!

I'm not surprised by the concept of "pressing the style button" mentioned above, even if the names were chosen from local lists. If Jasper came solely off the Confederate rolls, he could have been Andrew or James. But no, they don't hold the exotic allure of Jasper. That exotic allure is defined by what we see and hear now. Just a decade ago, Jasper may have been too "Green Acres." Heck, if we went by 1640 names, Carlisle should have been named John, John, William, or John. Doesn't pack the punch that Carlisle does. Just the fact that so many people are editing their name lists because of Twilight is a sign that the names were on everybody's mind, not just Stephanie Meyer's.

The names are part of the zeitgeist of cool.

38
By Ash (not verified)
November 19, 2009 11:13 AM

This morning, I was reading this article:

http://www.azcentral.com/thingstodo/movies/articles/2009/11/18/20091118t...

and toward the end, there is a quote from a mother who, indeed, named her son Jacob -- Jacob! -- after the Jacob in Twilight! Now, there are lots of things I could say about this (including the likelihood that she is one of those first time parents who is not very aware of how many baby Jacobs are running around these days), but as soon as I saw it, I had to run over here and share, since it was right on target with this discussion!

39
November 19, 2009 11:52 AM

@Ash--wow, that article is kind of amazing. I work in a bookstore, so I know that people are obsessed with Twilight...but those people are a wee bit crazy! :)

40
November 19, 2009 11:52 AM

I tend to agree that these names primarily hit the button on the current style. I haven't read the books, but hope to read at least the first one over Christmas. (My high school students HIGHLY recommend it.)

But in a nod to the a recent post: What names would you pick to write (the next) sequel? Who can you add to this bunch?

I think maybe, Ruby - it's an older name, but to me has that stylish punch that some of the other gem-names lack right now. (I can't see Pearl or Opal working).

But I'm stumped for boys.

41
November 19, 2009 12:01 PM

Eo-I love the name Ross. It sounds distinguished yet not so stuffy like Sebastian or August or Bernard or something. There are so many names out there that can be swayed to a different style based on a different association someone informs you of. Take Oliver for example.
1) a Dickens character
2) a Brady Bunch character
3) an English butler type
4) a little blond haired toddler
5) a 10 yr old in one of the Mid-western states

In each of these examples, the image and name conjur up a different meaning as a whole. If you were to describe the above with one word adjectives they would be something like this-
1) waif
2) nerdy
3) stuffy
4) cute
5) rugged
So to me Edward doesn't singularly scream vampire OR senator OR butler OR anything really.

42
By Ash (not verified)
November 19, 2009 12:07 PM

@ Anne with an E -- I know, right?!? Like I said upthread, I have several friends and acquaintances who love this stuff. I don't get it, personally. I read the first book, and thought it was okay, but not spectacular, for light, mindless reading. I didn't get more than a few dozen pages into the second. Some of these people though are crazy about it! The people in that article are beyond crazy!

I agree that Edward is a name too thoroughly engrained into consciousness to be "only" one kind of person. I'm always surprised at how low it is on the SSA list. I would think it is one of the perpetually top-20 classics.

43
November 19, 2009 12:33 PM

Megan W.

Ruby's big in the UK right now.

As for guy's names, that's always the hard choice. Names for boys, in the past, have classically stayed to a small, restricted list--when we're all named after our grandfathers and need to remain someone recognizable within the contexts of a society, that tends to happen. To get around that, I'd either throw verisimilitude out the window (a la Carlisle) or change the culture.

Here are a few suggestions:
Marius, Osric, Rodrigo, Alfred, Louis (the French Louis).

44
November 19, 2009 2:51 PM

Megan W-Just for fun I decide to see what Nymbler thought of siblings. First I put in the following:
Emmett, Jacob, Edward, Jasper, Alice, Esme
it came up with these names:
Hugh, Elise, Charlotte, Caleb, Amelia, Benjamin

Then when I changed it slightly to:
Cullen, Carlisle, Esme, Alice, Jasper, Emmett
it came up with these:
Charlotte, Barnard, Amelia, Forrest, Adelaide, Richmond
note that Charlotte + Amelia are in both sets but the 2nd trends a bit differently.
Jacob + Edward yield more biblical and English names while Carlisle and Cullen yield more surnames. I guess that's as it should be.
Esme, Alice and Charlotte make a nice sibset I think.

45
By Guest (not verified)
November 19, 2009 3:39 PM

CB, nli -- You are absolutley correct. I have a three-year-old girl named Esme, and I chose it specifically because it is not a new or "made-up" name, but it is uncommon, and there were very few "public" associations with it other than a JD Salinger story. I have nothing against Twilight, but the fact that the name is now in any way associated with something so trendy and of-the-moment concerns me greatly. I will be terribly disappointed if the name becomes significantly more common, and if people start saying, "Oh, like the Twilight books!" after I tell them my daughter's name, I will scream... It hasn't happened yet, so I remain cautiously optimistic that "Esme" will retain its integrity.

46
November 19, 2009 3:57 PM

zoerhenne

I like the Nymbler set: Richmond is an interesting name. It sounds so familiar because of Richard, but yet is just enough different.

Amelia and Charlotte seem spot on to me.

Then there are names like Timothy and Peter that I want to sound like Edward, but somehow don't have the same cultural "feel" to me.

47
November 19, 2009 8:11 PM

Megan-I know what you mean. I only took some of the first page of names so that my post wouldn't be too long. I found it interesting and "spot on" to come across Amelia and Charlotte both times. Richmond does seem like a fun alternative to Richard. Timothy is an odd name to me. It has a short succint nn in Tim which sounds good but Timothy conjurs up a little mousy figure that I remember from a cartoon. Therefore is is kinda of childish but also nerdy to me and makes me shy away from it. Peter is equally problematic. I like Andrew for an Edward alternative.

48
By Jenny also (not verified)
November 19, 2009 10:41 PM

Jasper is popping up all over in my world. All in kids under 3. I think it appeals to people who like the sound "er" names like Cooper, Tucker, and Carter but aren't in love with the "super-waspy" associations with those names.

Jasper and Milo are both totally on the rise.

49
By CB, nli (not verified)
November 19, 2009 10:50 PM

Okay, I went to a community Christmas Tree lighting tonight and was blown away when I saw a sweet little old lady wearing a t-shirt that said "Team Edward" and had a picture of the boy on it. It probably wouldn't have registered with me if I hadn't read this blog earlier!

And, I met my third Titus since September. All have been under five. Is this some local phenom or is Titus popping up elsewhere?

50
November 19, 2009 10:58 PM

@ CB: My 70 something year old great-aunt loves the Twilight books. She's Team Jacob though. For the record, I was too, before I stopped caring, although if you asked, that would still be my answer. Titus seems odd, I've never heard that before at all!

@ Jenny also: I have known a Jasper (he was mean, he bit me when we were 2) who had a twin brother Caleb. I always thought those were unusual names, now I realize they were just ahead of their time.