Literary Onomastics surveys different methods of studying names in works of literature and offers representative works of literary onomastic analysis. Included in this volume are qualitative studies that examine select names as well as quantitative studies that examine entire systems of names. These studies of literary names straddle centuries, cross genres, and defy simple categorization. Leading and emerging scholars in this field provide insight into the namecraft of William Shakespeare, Philip Sidney, John Donne, Julia Alvarez, Ursula K. Le Guin, Zadie Smith, George R. R. Martin, and Britain's Rebel Writers. The theories and methods they employ are associated with cultural, linguistic, rhetorical, feminist, and ethnic studies. Collectively, these scholars demonstrate the many approaches available to the study of names and naming practices in literary works. Additionally, they consider how names function in a variety of genres and mediums, including poetry, novels, science fiction, and fantasy.
Dorothy Dodge Robbins is the Charlotte Lewis Endowed Professor of English at Louisiana Tech University.
Chapter 1: Approaches to Literary Onomastics
Chapter 2: Naming as Self Reference in Poems by Sidney, Shakespeare, and Donne
Chapter 3: Proclaiming Names in Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies
Chapter 4: Onomastic Metaphor: The Rhetoric of Right Names in A Wizard of Earthsea
Chapter 5: ‘First and last names on a direct collision course’: Immigrant Naming Strategies, Ethnic Identities, and Cultural Assimilation in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth
Chapter 6: Names and World-Building in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones
Chapter 7: Angry Young Women and Rebel Writers: The Naming of a Female Literary Movement
No one is better prepared than Dorothy Dodge Robbins to present a survey of the study of names in literature. Having recently served for two years as president of the American Name Society, Dr. Robbins really knows the current trends in language and literature, and has collected a first-rate group of contributors writing on a variety of salient subjects. Offering precise tools and new research, Literary Onomastics is an excellent introduction for those unfamiliar with onomastics as well as a very useful read for the experienced scholar.
This excellent volume makes a strong contribution to the study of names in literature. Individually, the essays offer new insights into selected texts from different genres; collectively, they showcase a range of approaches within the field. All are interesting and enjoyable to read, combining rigorous scholarship with clarity of style.
Names and naming are integral to both individual and social construction of identity, whether in real life or in literature, where names focus character and structure narrative. Literature also interrogates the value of names, not only mirroring our experience but estranging it, insisting that we not take names or naming for granted, as we tend to do in everyday life. Literary Onomastics explores name phenomena in the name-play of Renaissance poetry, the socially salient use of names and naming strategies in fiction by women of color, as fascinating elements of narrative design in works of fantasy, and more. This is an excellent inaugural volume for a most promising series about onomastics in all its implications.