What do you think about Cosette?

We are thinking about naming our baby girl, due Jan 5th, Cosette. I love the name independently from Les Mis the book, play, and movie; though I have studied in college, seen, and taught the book to my high school lit students as a teacher, so I also feel like I am not just some Les Mis groupie. The cons to this name would be that it is so tied to said book etc. Also, a part of me is a tad worried about the 30th or so version of the film that is coming out right when she's due, just  for the sheer annoyance of people thinking we named her directly from this version of the film. I don't think that last concern is a reason to not ue a name I love, though. Any thoughts on this whole thing would be great. Thanks!

Replies

1
October 17, 2012 10:02 AM

I like Cosette in theory, but the name is so strongly tied to the character that I don't think I'd be brave enough to use it.  However, if I saw it on someone else's child I think I would be pleasantly surprised.  

If you just can't bring yourself to using it as a first, I think it'd be a great middle name.  The stress on the 2nd syllable usually makes for a nice flow with a wide range of first names. 

2
By EVie
October 17, 2012 1:27 PM

It's a pretty name (and at an earlier period in my life I was a huge Les Mis fan, so I have a certain affection for it). However, I have to agree with it being too uniquely tied to the book. I actually haven't been able to find any independent verification or explanation of its origins, other than that Victor Hugo probably invented it and it might be related to the Italian word cosetta, meaning "little thing, trifle" (not a meaning that I particularly like). Also, as I'm sure you recall since you've taught the book, Cosette wasn't even the character's real name—it was a pet name given to her by her mother (which also totally supports the "little thing" meaning. Her real name was Euphrasie). So, I think it would be a sweet nickname, and one you could use independent of any other name, given that it's basically the equivalent of Sweetie, etc. ... but I'm not a huge fan of it on the birth certificate.

Have you considered Colette? It sounds very similar, but has much more dignified origins, plus an interesting literary association.

3
October 17, 2012 1:59 PM

I think it's an absolutely lovely name and it's been on my "favorites" list for a while. While I do think it is tied to the character, I think that people who do not LOVE the book/movie/play will not make the association. I am a fan, so I would realize it but my friends who aren't avid play-goers would probably never realize where the name came from. I say go for it!

4
By Tana
October 17, 2012 8:32 PM

I can confirm that there are people who won't make the association between the name and Les Mis, because I wouldn't.  However, I haven't read the book or seen either the movie or the play, and all I know about it is that Victor Hugo wrote the book, and I have a vague idea that it might take place during the French Revolution so I'm toward the extreme end of unfamiliar with it.

Coming from the perspective of someone totally unfamiliar with the character, I feel I should mention that I'm not sure how to pronounce it (which may or may not bother you).  Does it have the same first syllable as "cozy"? That would be my first instinct.  If it's something else, I could learn (unless it involves sounds that don't appear in my accent, in which case I'd try but probably fail), but I would initially need to be corrected.

5
October 20, 2012 1:02 PM

This company: http://www.cozybugusa.com/

got its name "Cozy Bug" because the owner's daughter is Cosette & CozyBug was her nickname. :-)

 

6
October 17, 2012 2:42 PM

My main hesitation in using Cosette would be that her life is so sad!  It's a pretty name, but it's not something I would wish for my daughter.

I like the suggestion of Colette instead.  It has a very similar sound, but the author Colette had a happier ending to her life.

7
October 19, 2012 1:09 PM

I don't have much to add; I agree with the input you've had so far and think Colette is a great suggestion. Ditto using Cosette as an affectionate nickname regardless of what you put on the birth certificate.

You could also consider Cosima. I think it's been used in opera (but don't remember where; it was also the name of composer Richard Wagner's wife) and some celebrity (again, I don't remember which) chose it recently and gave it some exposure. It is also the feminine form of Cosimo, most famously used in the Medici family that ruled Renaissance Florence, Italy; they were somewhat controversial rulers but also sponsored many artists plus Galileo (and Machiavelli, if I'm remembering right). In the male version it's easier to see that the name is related to the word cosmos, which is a nice association.

Congratulations too!

8
October 19, 2012 6:46 PM

Cosima is an awesome suggestion.  And you could still use Cosette for a nickname.

9
By hwar
October 22, 2012 1:20 PM

Agree! Cosima and Colette are both fantastic alternatives to Cosette. Personally I think Cosette is okay, although the character and meaning aren't strong associations for me because I'm not really a fan of Victor Hugo. Or musicals.

10
October 22, 2012 2:47 PM

I think that Cosette is a perfectly pretty name. However, every time I read a read a new comment on this thread (or even notice the title in the list of posts,) I inevitably end up singing Castle on a Cloud. Sometimes it's immediate and sometimes it only gets transferred from subconsciously-in-my-head to out-loud after some time, but it always happens. I suspect that a child with a name so closely tied to a musical will spend her life being sung to, which can get old quickly. (Similar to why some people avoid Clementine and Susanna, for example. And the songs from Les Mis are way prettier than the songs connected to those names!)

11
By EVie
October 22, 2012 4:51 PM

Hah, that totally happened to me, too! And now again...

12
November 25, 2012 10:30 PM

Sorry this is late - I haven't been on this forum for months (I was having my sixth child!) and the title caught my eye:

I have a daughter with the middle name Eponine. I'm not a big Les Miserables fan but my mother-in-law was and we wanted to honor her in a way that would clearly be a tribute to her (her name was Nina, mine is Neena (pronounced exactly the same) and we wanted to avoid people thinking she was actually named for me). We liked the sound of the name and it worked with the first name we had already chosen (Annie) and our last name, so we went for it. 

It rarely comes up because it is a middle name and she's only 5, but people either have never heard of it or assume we're big fans of the musical. I live in New York City, so people may be more aware of the musical than they are in your area (of course, the movie is coming out, but I can't imagine most people will retain the names of the characters a few months after they see it), but I imagine you'd get a similar dichotomy with Cosette. If explaining to people that you didn't pick the name for the character is really going to annoy you, it might not be worth it. I do think that it's a gorgeous name and if you can get past the potential annoyance, you should use it.

13
November 27, 2012 11:26 PM

I'm another one of those people who only has a vague idea of the connection between Cosette and Les Mis.  Instead, the first thing that pops to mind is a character played by Rosie Odonnel in one episode of the Nanny named Cosette who is a foul but tender-hearted New York City cabbie.  She's a very likeable character who isn't in any way conected to Les Mis. 

All connections aside, Cosette is a lovely name, as are Cosima and Colette that other posters have mentioned.  Whatever your baby ends up being, I'm sure she'll own her name.