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Literary surnames as baby names

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If you want to give your baby a literary name, poking around in the surnames just makes good sense — that's how everyone knows the authors. Literary baby names, like Harper, have flown up the charts in recent years, as have first names based on surnames. Let these fads do double duty as we examine the best names in 20th century literature.

    Baby names inspired by 20th century literary surnames

    We stuck to the 20th century, but consider surnames from other time periods as well. Shelley and Austen would be lovely baby name choices for your wee bookworm.

    With the exception of Langston Hughes — please everyone start using this gem of a first name! — we find the following authors' surnames far more stylish than their firsts. Don't forget to tuck away a copy of your baby name inspiration's best known novel or anthology. We've included some titles to get your baby's collection started.
    • Angelou (Maya): I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1969
    • Auden (W.H.): The Age of Anxiety, 1948
    • Beckett (Samuel): Waiting for Godot, 1952
    • Buck (Pearl S.): The Good Earth, 1931
    • Caldwell (Erskine): Tobacco Road, 1932
    • Christie (Agatha): Murder on the Orient Express, 1934
    • Conrad (Joseph): Heart of Darkness, 1899
    • Doyle (Arthur Conan): The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1902
    • Eliot (T.S.): The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, 1915
    • Ellison (Ralph): The Invisible Man, 1952
    • Faulkner (William): The Sound and the Fury, 1929
    • Fitzgerald (F. Scott): The Great Gatsby, 1925
    • Forster (E.M.): A Room With a View, 1908
    • Haley (Alex): Roots: The Saga of an American Family, 1976
    • Hemingway (Ernest): The Sun Also Rises, 1926
    • Hughes (Langston): Not Without Laughter, 1930
    • Huxley (Aldus): Brave New World, 1932
    • Irving (John): A Prayer for Owen Meany, 1989
    • James (Henry): The Turn of the Screw, 1898
    • Lee (Harper): To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960
    • Lewis (Sinclair): Babbitt, 1922
    • London (Jack): The Call of the Wild, 1903
    • Miller (Arthur and Henry): Death of a Salesman, 1940
    • Mitchell (Margaret): Gone With the Wind, 1936
    • Montgomery (Lucy Maud): Anne of Green Gables, 1908
    • Morrison (Toni): Beloved, 1987
    • Nash (Ogden): I'm a Stranger Here Myself, 1938
    • Salinger (J.D.): The Catcher in the Rye, 1951
    • Sinclair (Upton): The Jungle, 1906
    • Thomas (Dylan): Deaths and Entrances, 1946
    • Walker (Alice): The Color Purple, 1982
    • Wallace (David Foster): Infinite Jest, 1996
    • Warren (Robert Penn): All the King's Men, 1946
    • Yeats (William Butler): A Vision, 1937

    More baby names inspired by literature

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