Category Archives: publications

Publication announcement: “Names Shakespeare Didn’t Invent: Imogen, Olivia, and Viola Revisited”

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new paper by a member of our team. Our editor-in-chief Dr. Sara L. Uckelman’s paper “Names Shakespeare Didn’t Invent: Imogen, Olivia, and Viola Revisited” is now available online from Names. Here’s the abstract:

Just as Shakespeare’s plays left their indelible stamp on the English language, so too did his names influence the naming pool in England at the beginning of the 17th century and beyond, and certain popular modern names are often described as inventions of Shakespeare. In this article, we revisit three names which are often listed as coinages of Shakespeare’s and show that this received wisdom, though oft-repeated, is in fact incorrect. The three names are Imogen, the heroine of Cymbeline; and Olivia and Viola, the heroines of Twelfth Night. All three of these names pre-date Shakespeare’s use. Further, we show in two of the three cases that it is plausible that Shakespeare was familiar with this earlier usage. We conclude by briefly discussing why these names are commonly mistakenly attributed to Shakespeare’s imagination, and the weaker, but not mistaken, claims which may underlie these attributions.

This paper shows the benefit of a large-scale cross-cultural data like the Dictionary collects and publishes; it is easy to be mislead by the data when you focus only on a single culture, resulting in the drawing of incorrect conclusions. When the net is cast wider, then we can obtain a more accurate picture about which names Shakespeare actually coined, which he merely introduced into England, and which were already in use in England before him, but were, perhaps, popularised by his use of them.

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Recent publications

DMNES staff members have some cool new publications either recently published or forthcoming, so we thought we’d do a quick round-up of them:

  • Mariann Slíz. 2015. “Byzantine Influence on the Name-giving Practises of the Hungarian Árpád Dynasty”, in Egedi-Kovács Emese szerk., Byzance et l’Occident II. Tradition, transmission, traduction. Collège Eötvös József ELTE, Budapest. 171–181.
  • Mariann Slíz. 2015. “Occupational names in the Hungarian family name system”, in Oliviu Felecan ed., Name and Naming, Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Onomastics “Name and Naming”. Conventional / Unconventional in Onomastics. Baia Mare, September 1–3, 2015. Editura Mega – Editura Argonaut, Cluj-Napoca. 328–338.
  • Mariann Slíz. 2016. Personal Names in Medieval Hungary, Beiträge zur Lexikographie und Namenforschung 9 (Baar-Verlag).
  • Mariann Slíz. 2016. “Personal Names Originating from Literature or Motion Picture in the Hungarian Name Stock – A Historical Survey”, in Carole Hough – Daria Izdebska eds., Names and Their Environment, Proceedings of the 25th International Congress of Onomastic Sciences, Glasgow, 15-19 August 2014. 1–5, University of Glasgow, Glasgow. 3: 247–254.
  • Sara L. Uckelman & Mariann Slı́z. 2015. “Többnyelvű névtani lexikográfia: a Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources elnevezésű nemzetközi szótári projekt (Cross-linguistic onomastic lexicography: The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources)”, Névtani Értesı́tő, 37: 203–221.
  • Sara L. Uckelman. 2016. “Review of Donna Thornton and Kevin Murray, Bibliography of Publications on Irish Placenames“, Peritia, 27: 306–307.
  • Sara L. Uckelman, Sonia Murphy, & Joseph Percer. 2017. “What’s in a name? History and fantasy in Game of Thrones“, in Brian A. Pavlac, ed., The Game of Thrones versus History (Wiley-Blackwell).

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