Thursday, September 13, 2007

am i the only one who cannot see a headline about hurricane humberto without thinking about lolita?

At least it's not Hurricane Humberto Humberto.

BTW: The Wikipedia entry for Lolita includes the following statement by Nabokov: "I am probably responsible for the odd fact that people don't seem to name their daughters Lolita any more." Nor, to my knowledge, are hurricanes named Lolita, although who wouldn't rather have their home wrecked by Hurricane Lolita rather than Hurricane Humberto? Anyway, if Nabakov's statement is true, I'm trying to think if there are other candidates for novels that killed off a first name?

15 comments:

Ken Houghton said...

But there are still many Doloreses, demonstrating that no one actually knows her real name.

The trend usually runs the other way, to be sure. (Think of all the 4- or 5-year-old Britneys out there. Or the Hermiones who will be class of 2019-2025.)

Jay Livingston said...

Nabokov, in his next novel, Pale Fire, created a Hurricane Lolita:

"It was a year of tempests: Hurricane
Lolita swept from Florida to Maine."

Jay Livingston said...

And actress Lolita Davidovich was born three years after the novel Lolita was published in the US>

Kieran said...

The baby-name voyager suggests Nabokov is at least half right, but also that JK Rowling has had no effect on baby-naming trends as of yet. Not even the pedestrian Harry has made a comeback, let alone Hermione.

Chip said...

It's not just novels. You don't meet many men named Adolf any more.

Dave said...

On the other hand, Joseph is still pretty common. Can't recall meeting anyone called Pol, though.

carly said...

No, no Pols, but the winner of "Britain's Got Talent" was a guy named "Paul Potts", which seems a bit unfortunate to me.

Ann said...

I wonder about the name Zelda. It was hot in the 20s, but declined steadily after that. It was all the way out of the top 1000 girl names by the 70s before the videogame (1986). I would have guessed it would have made a resurgence, but it doesn't look like it has so far...

jeremy said...

Jay: I didn't know that about Pale Fire. Fabulous!

Groucho Marx's real name was Adolph, so both his real and stage names seem no extinct. Now I'm in a reverie wondering whether history would be different had Hitler's first name been Groucho.

Anonymous said...

Albert Brooks' real name is Albert Einstein.

Also, I had a great uncle Sylvester that changed his name to "Tom." I'm pretty sure that was before Rocky came out, though. JJ

Jude said...

Uh, dude?

Groucho was "Julius Henry Marx."

As for novels making names scarce, you just don't see many Ebenezers anymore, do you?

Or did you ever?

Jude said...

Shit, I forgot to mention that it was Harpo who was originally named Adolph. He changed his name sometime during the Great War (the first one, anyway) to Arthur.

Yeah, I know a lot of shit about the Marx Brothers. Sue me.

Chip said...

Yes, Groucho was actually "Julius" while Harpo was "Adolph," and Harpo later changed his real name to Arthur. So in fact your observation is even better. Heil Harpo.

Kieran said...

I once recommended Pale Fire to an undergraduate reading group (at Princeton) and they were so fastidious that they read the whole thing straight through without looking at the Cliffs notes or even reading the introduction to the book, and so the novel's structure revealed itself to them as intended, and they were somewhat weirded out.

DogOnTheInternet said...

I don't know about novels killing off names, but I know that there is no record of anyone named "Wendy" before Peter Pan was published.

Same with "Pamela" and, well, Pamela.