Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ladylike Name: Eleanor

Gender: Female

Origin: Greek

Meaning: "Shining Light"

Common Nicknames: Ella, Ellen, Ellie, Nell, Nelly, Nellie, Nora

Regency Popularity: Its use was fairly steady in the 17th and 18th centuries. First introduced into England by Eleanor of Aquitaine (12th century) who was heiress to a large portion of France, wife of two kings and mother of two more (Richard the Lionhearted and John). Her powerful personality, intelligence, and inexhaustible energy made her unique in her time.

Jane Austen Usage:
  • Northanger Abbey - Eleanor Tilney is the sister of hero Henry Tilney and daughter of General Tilney. She is a truly elegant young woman and presented as an idealised friend for heroine Catherine Morland, in strong contrast to the vain and selfish Isabella Thorpe. Eleanor's own marriage to a Vicount directly effects the subsequent marriage of her brother and his heroine.
  • Juvenilia: Frederic and Elfrida - Miss. Eleanor Roger

Ladylike Names: Elinor

Gender: Female

Origin: Greek

Meaning: "Shining Light"

Common Nicknames: Ella, Ellen, Ellie, Nell, Nelly, Nellie

Regency Popularity: Its use was fairly steady in the 17th and 18th centuries. First introduced into England by Eleanor of Aquitaine (12th century) who was heiress to a large portion of France, wife of two kings and mother of two more (Richard the Lionhearted and John). Her powerful personality, intelligence, and inexhaustible energy made her unique in her time.

Jane Austen Usage:

  • Sense and Sensibility - Elinor Dashwood, age nineteen, is joint heroine with her sister Marianne. The story centers around their lives after their father dies and their older half-brother inherits the family fortune. She falls in love with Edward Ferrars.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ladylike Names: Catherine


Gender: Female

Origin: English and French from the original Greek

Meaning: "pure"

Common Nicknames: Kitty is the most common in Jane Austen's works but Kate and Kathy were also common in this era.

Regency Popularity: Very commonly used in this era and in Jane Austen's works.

Jane Austen Usage:

  • Northanger Abbey - Catherine Morland is the seventeen-year-old heroine of the book. She is the oldest daughter of Rev. & Mrs. Morland and younger sister of James Morland. Although naive she is sweet and quickly gains the heart of Henry Tilney.
  • Pride and Prejudice - Miss Catherine Bennet, usually called Kitty, is the fourth born Bennet sister. Although she follows her flighty younger sister Lydia, Jane Austen intimates at the end of the story that she will mature and be more sensible.  
  • Pride and Prejudice - Lady Catherine de Bourgh is Mr Collins' patron, Mr. Darcy's aunt and mother to Miss Anne de Bourgh.
  • Lady Susan - Mrs. Catherine Vernon is married to Charles Vernon making her the sister-in-law of Lady Susan vernon. She is the daughter of Sir Reginald and Lady De Courcey, sister of Mr. Reginald De Courcey and mother of several children.

Ladylike Name: Anne


Gender: Female

Origin: English/French version of the Hebrew Hannah and Channah and Greek Anna. Anna was the faithful prophetess Anna in New Testament who await the birth of Jesus Christ. 

Meaning: "He (God) has favored me", "gracious", "grace"

Common Nicknames: Nancy, Nan, Nanny, Annie. Jane Austen uses Nancy most often as a nickname.

Regency Popularity: Very popular among most classes. Most lower classes would probably use Hannah or the nicknames more, but the upper classes would use Anne. Among the royalty Anne was and still is quite popular.

Jane Austen Usage:

  • Persuasion - Anne Elliot is the heroine of the story. She is the second daughter of Sir Walter Elliot, devoted friend, aunt, sister, and constant to her true love Captain Frederick Wentworth.
  • Sense and Sensibility - Miss Anne Steele is the older sister of Lucy Steele, nearly thirty years old; 'never succeeded in catching the Doctor'. She is usually called Nancy by her sister.
  • Pride and Prejudice - Miss Anne de Bourgh is the sickly daughter of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Named after her aunt Lady Anne Darcy a match is made by the two mothers for her to marry her cousin Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy.
  • Pride and Prejudice - Lady Anne Darcy, born Lady Anne Fitzwilliam, is the deceased mother of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Georgiana Darcy. Wife of the elder Mr. Darcy, sister of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, aunt of Miss Anne de Bourgh and Colonel Fitzwilliam.
  • Northanger Abbey - Anne Thorpe is one of Mrs Thorpe's two younger daughters. Although not as beautiful as her older sister Isabella, she does very well by pretending to be as handsome as her sister, imitating her air, and dressing in the same style.
  • Emma - Anne Taylor is governess to heroine Emma Woodhouse until she's marries Mr. Weston. At the end of the book she has a daughter who is named Anna after her mother.
  • Northanger Abbey - Anne Mitchell is mentioned as a 'friend' of Isabella Thorpe's who had tried to put on a turban like Isabella's but who had apparently made wretched work of it.
  • Juvenilia: The Three Sisters - Miss Anne (also called Miss XXX) is the friend that Georgiana Stanhope writes to and dictates her plans for her sisters.
  • Juvenilia: Evelyn - Mrs. Anne Augusta Webb, wife of Mr. Webb and mother of Maria.
  • Juvenilia: Catharine, or the Bower - Anne, also called Nanny, is the heroine Catharine's maid. 

Gentlemanly Names: Christopher


Gender: Male

Origin: Greek

Meaning: "Christ- bearer", "bearer of the Christ"

Common Nicknames: None commonly used but Chris and Kit have been used for years.

Regency Popularity: Not uncommon but more frequently used in more religious circles because of it's meaning.

Jane Austen Usage:

  • Mansfield Park - Christopher Jackson is a local man who builds the stage in the billiards room at Mansfield Park which the young people use for their play. He had a son named Dick Jackson. Sir Thomas call him "my friend" but he's probably just the local carpenter.  
  • Juvenilia: Sir William Montague - Sir Christopher Montague is mentioned as an ancestor of the title character Sir William Montague.
  • Sense & Sensibility (1995) - in her screenplay Emma Thompson gives Colonel Brandon the first name Christopher and it's been used since that time as if it were his real name. His first name is not given by Jane Austen in the book. 

Gentlemanly Names: Harry


Gender: Male

Origin: English nickname from German name Henry

Meaning: "ruler of the household"

Common Nicknames: This is a nickname so most Harrys mentioned most likely have the full name of Henry.

Regency Popularity: Very common as a nickname for Henry, especially for little boys named after family members.

Jane Austen Usage:

  • Sense and Sensibility - Harry Dashwood is the four-year-old son of John and Fanny Dashwood, named after his grandfather Henry Dashwood, nephew of Elinor, Marianne and Margaret Dashwood.
  • Persuasion - Harry Musgrove is the youngest son of Mr. Charles (Elder) and Mrs Musgrove and brother to Charles and Mary (Elliot) Musgrove.
  • Emma - Harry, a servant at Mr. Knightley's estate Donwell Abbey.
  • Sanditon - Sir Harry Denham is mentioned at the deceased second husband of Lady Denham and uncle to Sir Edward Denham, Baronet.

Gentlemanly Names: Henry


Gender: Male

Origin: German

Meaning: "ruler of the household"

Common Nicknames: Harry, Jane Austen uses it a few times.

Regency Popularity: Very commonly used by all classes and especially among royalty.

Jane Austen Usage:

  • Northanger Abbey - Rev. Henry Tilney is the witty and charming hero. A clergyman who lives at his Parrish Woodston but spends much time with his father and sister at Northanger Abbey and visiting Bath. He marries the heroine Catherine Morland and shares her passion for reading novels.
  • Emma - Mr. Henry Woodhouse is the owner of Hartfield in Highbury. His wife Catherine dies leaving two daughters: Isabella marries John Knightley and Emma marries George Knightley. His grandson is named after him.
  • Emma - Master Henry Knightley is the oldest son of Isabella Woodhouse and John Knightley, named after his grandfather Henry Woodhouse.
  • Mansfield Park - Henry Crawford is the "villain" of the story. He is the brother of Mary Crawford, half-brother to Mrs Grant, brother-in-law of Dr. Grant. He and his sister Mary were brought up by their uncle Admiral Crawford and his wife. Has an estate in Norfolk called Enscombe. He trifles with the feelings of the three ladies at Mansfield Park.
  • Mansfield Park - Sir Henry is mentioned by Mr. Yates as the guest of Lord Ravenshaw's houseparty.
  • Persuasion - Sir Henry Russell was the late husband of Lady Russell, he was only a Knight so his title couldn't be passed down to any children they might have had. 
  • Sense and Sensibility - Henry Dashwood of Stanhill and Norland Park. By his first wife he had one son, John; by his second, three daughters, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret. His death at the beginning of the story sets the events of the plot in motion.
  • Juvenilia: Henry and Eliza - Mr. Henry Cecil is the hero of the story, he married Eliza.
  • Juvenilia: Lesley Castle - Mr. Henry Hervey
  • Juvenilia: Evelyn - Mr. Henry
  • Juvenilia: Amelia Webster - Mr. Henry Beverley a character who marries on of George Hervey's sisters.
  • Juvenilia: The Three Sisters - Sir Henry Brudenell
  • Juvenilia: Sir William Montague - Sir Henry Montague
Jane Austen's Life:
  • Henry Austen (1771-1850) - brother, fourth oldest Austen child, married his cousin Eliza de Feuillide.