Top Ten Tuesday: Classics with names in the titles

This week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is “Books with Names/Character Names in the Titles”.

I have decided to focus on classic novels and have listed five female characters and five male – interestingly, I had much more choice when it came to the women! As usual with my Top Ten Tuesday posts, I have tried to stick to books that I’ve read and reviewed on my blog.

1. Ann Veronica by HG Wells – This novel about a young woman’s struggle for independence and her involvement with the suffrage movement isn’t something you would normally associate with science fiction author HG Wells, but I thought it was an interesting read.

2. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier – Du Maurier liked using names in her titles! As well as the most obvious choice, Rebecca, there’s also Julius, Mary Anne – and this one, My Cousin Rachel, a dark and atmospheric novel which is one of my personal favourites by du Maurier.

3. Lorna Doone by RD Blackmore – Set in 17th century England, I loved this novel about a man who falls in love with a woman from a clan of violent outlaws. Although Lorna is the title character, I actually found some of the minor characters more interesting, and I could probably say the same about a few of the other books on this list too.

4. Sylvia’s Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell – I’ve read several of Gaskell’s novels and this is one that I particularly liked. Set on the North Yorkshire coast during the Napoleonic Wars it’s a beautifully written novel but I agree with Gaskell when she said it’s “the saddest story I ever wrote”.

5. Shirley by Charlotte Brontë – I’ve chosen to highlight this one rather than Charlotte’s more popular Jane Eyre. Although it’s not one of the strongest novels by the Brontë sisters, I think it deserves to be more widely read. It’s an interesting fact that Shirley was seen as a male name rather than a female one until the publication of this book.

6. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad – I thought this was a fascinating book, but also a difficult one to read and understand because of the structure and the complex, morally ambiguous title character. I can’t really say that I enjoyed it, but I was pleased to at least make it to the end.

7. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – Another author who used a lot of names in titles! I haven’t read all of them, but those I have read and could have chosen from include Oliver Twist, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Dombey and Son. I decided on this one because it’s a book I particularly enjoyed, with a selection of fascinating characters – apart from the very annoying Dora Spenlow!

8. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy – If Sylvia’s Lovers is sad, this book is heartbreaking. It follows the story of a young man from a humble background whose attempts to gain an education and live with the woman he loves leads to tragedy. I love Hardy but can see why he doesn’t appeal to everyone!

9. Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu – This Victorian classic has everything you could wish for in a Gothic novel and after a slow start, I loved it. A good choice for a Halloween reading list or to curl up with on a dark winter’s night.

10. Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope – Phineas Finn is a young Irish politician who appears in Trollope’s Palliser series. His name actually features in two of the books from this series – this one and Phineas Redux, both of which I enjoyed.

Have you read any of these? Which other classics can you think of with character’s names in the title?

27 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Classics with names in the titles

    • Helen says:

      I did think of including Emma and Madame Bovary but had to limit my list to ten books. I haven’t read Mrs Dalloway yet, although you’ve reminded me that I have read Orlando – another Woolf novel with a name in the title!

  1. Calmgrove says:

    This sounds a too-easy TTT meme but how glorious to be able to select what to highlight! I’ve read both the Brontë and the Dickens but tried the Blackmore back in the 60s after a family visit to the Valley of the Rocks and watching the elocution teacher at my grammar school playing Reuben Huckaback in the 1963 BBC drama serial; unfortunately I found the text rambling and indigestible, but what can I say? I was only 14…

    • Helen says:

      I’m sure I would have struggled with Lorna Doone as a teenager! It wasn’t a particularly easy read as an adult either, although I thought it was worth the effort.

  2. Karen K.K says:

    Ooh, great list! I’ve read a lot of those and I really want to read Ann Veronica. Loved the Trollopes and I actually preferred Phineas Redux. And I completely agree about Dora in David Copperfield, she is SO ANNOYING. But honestly most of his ingenues are just terrible and have no personality whatsoever.

    • Helen says:

      Ann Veronica is fascinating and completely different from anything else I’ve read by Wells. I’m glad you agree about Dora! As you say, a lot of his female characters are annoying, but I think she’s the worst.

  3. Lark says:

    Love that you went with all classics for your TTT list this week! I put Tess of the d’Urvervilles, Mrs. Dalloway and Belinda on my own list. 😀

    • Helen says:

      I nearly included Tess of the d’Urbervilles (one of my favourite Hardy novels) but went with Jude the Obscure instead, as I wanted five male characters and five female.

  4. jessicabookworm says:

    I love your classic take on this week’s topic, Helen 😍 Off your list I have read My Cousins Rachel, which I adored, and Shirley, which as you said is not the greatest from the Brontë sisters but definitely worth a read. As for classics I can think of with names in the titles, I think I would have gone for Anne of Green Gables, Emma, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Ivanhoe. 😊

    • Helen says:

      There were such a lot of books to choose from for this week’s topic, I tried to narrow it down a little bit by limiting it to classics. I did think about putting Emma on the list, but I had forgotten about Ivanhoe!

  5. beckylindroos says:

    Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier!
    Pippi Longstocking – ? (I know it though…)
    Caddie Woodlawn ?
    A Rose for Emily by Faulkner
    Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

    Don Quixote – Cervantes
    Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
    Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
    Oliver Twist by Dickens

    Becky – who just wanted to mention Rebecca and it got started –

    • Helen says:

      There are so many classics with names in their titles! I’ve read Rebecca (which I love), Don Quixote, Ethan Frome and Oliver Twist, but had to limit myself to just ten.

  6. Madam Librarian says:

    Ten Men: The Great Gasby; Candide; The Picture of Dorian Gray; Tom Jones; Franenstein; Kim; Rob Roy; Robinson Crusoe; Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Gulliver’s Travelers.

  7. stargazer says:

    There seem to be a lot of names in classic book titles. My Cousin Rachel is a favourite of mine and Jude the Obscure is on my TBR. I wonder how I’ll get on, it will be my first Hardy.

    • Helen says:

      Hardy is one of my favourite Victorian authors, so I hope you like him! Jude the Obscure is wonderful, but it’s also a very bleak book – if you don’t get on with that one, some of his others are a bit more uplifting.

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