Celebrity Names Blog

Edgar Allan Poe, Naming Savant

"It was many and many a year ago." 201, to be exact, since the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, naming savant, who knew the value of a good "bel" name long before our current mania for all things "bella."

Poe lived in the nineteenth century, in the decades that gave us the frock coat and steampunk. Like his prose, his names are thrilling, yet with a persnickety precision. Several are dactyllic, and they are full of "L"s.

They're also prescient. A look at the Name Voyager chart for Annabel tells you that. Here are some of the names Poe used in poems and stories.

Girls:

  • Annabel
  • Annie
  • Berenice
  • Eleanora
  • Ermengarde
  • Eugenie
  • Eulalie
  • Ianthe
  • Lenore
  • Ligeia
  • Madeline
  • Morella
  • Rowena
  • Madeline
  • Nesace
  • Ulalume


Boys:

  • Auguste
  • Cornelius
  • Egaeus
  • Ernest
  • Fortunato
  • Jupiter
  • Montresor
  • Prospero
  • Roderick
  • William

Our favorite Poe name we don't expect to catch on is Pundita. We think others might appeal to contemporary namers. Recently, Sophia Loren's grandson was given a Poe name, when actress Sasha Alexander and her husband, Edoard Ponti (Loren's son) welcomed Leonardo Fortunato.

What are your favorite Poe names? Would you consider using a Poe name?

--L.R.

Comments

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January 20, 2011 9:11 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Lenore from "The Raven" is a favorite. I also like Roderick.

January 20, 2011 3:39 PM
By dotmyiis (not verified)

I'm crazy about Eulalie. I love the way it rolls off the tongue and I would definitely consider using it.

January 21, 2011 9:37 AM
By Lane

How could we have omitted Lenore?! Must fix.

January 21, 2011 5:11 PM
By Mom (not verified)

I have a German cousin named Ermgard, she pronounces it with a long e. I also like the name Lenore, it has a soft sophistication to it.

January 21, 2011 7:31 PM
By Azure (not verified)

Too flowery. Too long.

It would be interesting to post the popularity of those names during the era that Poe used them. If they weren't popular, then we can call him a savant.

January 22, 2011 4:55 PM
By Lane

@Azure, unfortunately, the Social Security Administration information on names only goes back to 1880.

January 24, 2011 8:02 PM
By Sarah (not verified)

Ermengarde is a character from Frances Hodgson Burnett's "A Little Princess" and Eulalie is a character from the musical "The Music Man". Two other names that I'd like to learn about from those things are Lavinia (A Little Princess) and Zaneeta (Music Man)

January 25, 2011 1:17 PM
By paula (not verified)

Ermengarde was a character in the movie "Hello Dolly," too.

As soon as I saw Eulalie on this list, I thought of the infamous Eulalie McKechnie Shinn, wife of the mayor in "The Music Man"!

Interestingly enough, seeing Eugenie and Eulalie together on this list, I had to note the difference in common pronunciations. At least in "The Music Man," Eulalie was pronounced "you-LAY-lee." Eugenie, which is the name of the second daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, at least in her case, is pronounced "YOU-gen-ee," not "you-GENE-ee." A common variation, Eugenia, is usually pronounced "you-GENE-ee-ah."

I don't doubt there's some confusion about pronunciations when old-fashioned names such as these are resurrected in our current society.

January 25, 2011 2:18 PM
By Genie Apple (not verified)

I love Poe names, they are always well-suited to the character and/or atmosphere he's trying to create. I also love his preference for lyrical sounding names, with prevalent 'l', 'm' and 'n' sounds. (To me most of them sound like they should he whispered, and roll of the tongue pleasantly).

Also, I think Pundita has great potential, though I prefer Madita (or even Monita). I think the 'ma' sound is much more familiar than the 'pun'.

January 25, 2011 3:32 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I like "Poe." Great name.

January 25, 2011 3:49 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Lenore is one of my favorite names of all time and I first heard it in "The Raven." I also love Annabel Lee.

January 25, 2011 5:22 PM
By shadelit (not verified)

Long have I loved Lenore.

January 26, 2011 5:15 PM
By Julie (not verified)

Berenice needs to be resurrected, it's such a interesting name.

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