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Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Unfortunate Character Names

Top Ten Most Unfortunate Character Names
This week's list from The Broke and the Bookish : The Top Ten Most Unfortunate Character Names

I will now sing the praises of Anthony Trollope--again.  

Trollope purposefully gave many of his minor characters "unfortunate" names.  Often a distasteful or villainous character will have a name that is either ridiculous or respulsive.  Trollope used sound and connotation to great effect in naming characters.
1.  Mr. Quiverful is the rector of Puddingdale.  His very large (fourteen children by the time he appears in Barchester Towers) family leaves him destitute. A good, if somewhat overwhelmed, man.
2.  Mrs. Proudie, the Sabbatarian (and holier-than-thou) wife of Bishop Proudie in the Barsetshire series.
3.  Quintus Slide, slanderous editor and rumormonger.  This vengeful character has a small but important role to play in several of the Palliser novels.
4. Reverend Obadiah Slope-an unattractive and troublesome character from the Barsetshire series.
5. Sir Orlando Drought--a minister in the cabinet in The Prime Minister.
6. The Duke of Omnium--think he's the Duke of pretty much everything?
7.  Plantegenet Palliser--only the rich and titled can get away with names like this.  In Phineas Redux he succeeds his uncle as Duke of Omnium.
8. Mr. Chaffenbrass--a barrister in Phineas Redux.  He turns out to be a goodie, not a baddie.
9.  Mr. Cheesacre appears in Can You Forgive Her?  He's a farmer, of course.
10. Lord Fawn, a weaselish, fawning sort of fellow--frequently an unsuccessful suitor.

Thanks again to The Broke and the Bookish for this always-entertaining meme.  What characters do you think have the most unfortunate names?



24 comments:

Christopher said...

This was absolutely hysterical! Wonderful post, and ever-so clever to pick Trollope to focus on odd character names. Dickens would be the other author. Good one, Lisa! Cheers! Chris

Frl. Irene Palfy said...

What an awesome list! :")

Loni said...

Great list. Seems like Trollope was very thoughtful about his unfortunate character names.

bibliophiliac said...

Christopher--You are so right--Dickens was a master of the art of naming characters

Bibliophile said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bibliophile said...

Cool list. Clearly Dickens wasn't the only Victorian era author to make up strange and wonderful names.

....Petty Witter said...

I've just realised that there are several of my followers who I haven't yet met or haven't visited for such a long time that I thought I'd stop by and say hello.

Yes, you sometimes have to wonder just how authors come up with these names. Frightening to think that some readers may take inspiration from them and end up calling their children something that the playground bullies will love.

Krystal said...

Great list! Though I must admit, I've never read any of those books.

Here's My Top Ten

MJ said...

perhaps Trollope was in the 'Misery Loves Company" camp, due to his own unfortunate name. Love your post-so many colorful and strangely appropriate character names!

danya said...

Wow, those are a lot of very strange-sounding names, but looks like they suit the characters very well!

Short Story Slore said...

I'm impressed with your list! I couldn't really come up with any off the top of my head, but I did suspect Dickens had a few that I wasn't keen on.

readerbuzz said...

These are truly awful!


Mine is here:
http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2010/11/nearly-ten-most-unfortunate-character.html

Stephanie aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile said...

This is hilarious! These names aren't exactly subtle are they?

http://laughingstars.net

Rummanah Aasi said...

There's no doubt that Trollope is not only brilliant but a very, very funny man. Great list!

bibliophiliac said...

@Fr.Irene--thanks-but the awesomeness is all Trollope;)
@Loni-yes, he seems to have fun!
@Bibliophile--yes, Dickens was the other writer who immediately came to mind.

bibliophiliac said...

@Petty Witter-thanks for stopping by! I would hate to see a little Planty Palliser on the playground!
@Krystal-thanks for stopping by-I'm on my way over to visit you!

bibliophiliac said...

@MJ--I was thinking the same thing! I wonder if they added the "e" to trollop to make it more respectable!

bibliophiliac said...

@danya-Trollope does seem to be making a point with his names!
@ShortStorySlore-Dickens had some great "unfortunate" names too--like Uriah Heep!

bibliophiliac said...

@readerbuzz-yes, but in a good way! He gives his worst names to the most hateful characters....
@Stephanie--I know-he puts it right out there!
@Rummanah--brilliant and funny-exactly!

Bybee said...

Uriah Heep tops the list...but I do like Cheesacre!

Lisa said...

Ohh, I might just like Trollope! One of my fav things about Dickens are his ridiculous names.

Mayowa said...

HA!

Sometimes it's good to chuck subtlety out of a window and it works wonderfully here. I can almost picture the characters before your descriptions.

Great list.

bibliophiliac said...

@Mayowa--I'm still trying to understand how Trollope was able to combine realism with these quirky, intrusive touches (like directly addressing the reader or making narrative comments). And I even left out Captain Gunner and Sir Timothy Beeswax!

Dr. T said...

Let's not forget the law firm of Bideawhile and Slowe from THE WAY WE LIVE NOW.