In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle explores the origins of a given name in a little-known eighteenth-century poem Here’s a question for you. What connects the girls’ name Vanessa with the classic novel Gulliver’s Travels? The answer: they were both created by the same person.
Tag: Jonathan Swift
The life of Jonathan Swift told through five pieces of interesting trivia 1. Jonathan Swift invented the girls’ name Vanessa. The name Vanessa originated as Swift’s pet name for his friend and lover Esther Vanhomrigh (c. 1688-1723), who was over 20 years his junior. Swift wrote a poem, Cadenus and […]
The most significant events in the history of books on the 30th of November 1554: Sir Philip Sidney is born. This Elizabethan poet wrote one of the earliest sonnet sequences in English (Astrophil and Stella), and in his prose romance the Arcadia, he invented the name Pamela. The name means ‘all sweetness’ (from pan meaning […]