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The Worst Character Name In All Literature?

Good morning all,

It occurred to me last night when I couldn’t sleep that Henry James, that formidable intellect and author of the masterful The Turn of the Screw, also committed a heinous sin against literature: in The Golden Bowl he named a character Fanny Assingham.

Fanny Assingham!

From my way of thinking, there is no clearer sign that you and I should be gentle with ourselves and laugh off our occasional mistakes. At least we didn’t name a character Fanny Assingham.

I wondered, now jolted from sleep by this vision of Fanny, if it were the worst name in all of literature. Thomas Pynchon has come up with some real groaners, but he knows it and does it for his own purposes and delights. There are plenty of bad names out there. Most are probably just flat-out forgettable.

But are there any worse than Fanny Assingham?

If you’ve got a nominee, please make your case below in the comments.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Michael LaRocca December 19, 2016, 7:00 am

    Some of the James Bond ladies have some lame names, but that was deliberate. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang gave us Truly Scrumptious, which sounds like a Bond lady. And that’s all I’ve got. None of them can hold a candle to Fanny Assingham.

  • Jade Walker December 19, 2016, 8:44 am

    I’ll see your Fanny Assingham and raise you a Bucky Wunderlick (“Great Jones Street” by Don DeLillo)

    • Josh Hanagarne December 19, 2016, 1:20 pm

      That’s bad, but I don’t think it’s as bad!

  • Lynda Rodriguez December 19, 2016, 11:10 am

    this is not a literary reference, but on the TV show Falcon Crest, Lorenzo Lamas played a character named Lance Cumson.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 19, 2016, 1:20 pm

      Don’t you mean, “International heartthrob Lorenzo Lamas?”

  • Theresa H December 22, 2016, 2:16 pm

    This one isn’t too bad, just very amusing: Mojo Sheepshanks.

  • Dano January 12, 2017, 8:33 pm

    Always had a fondness for Steve Gryczlkaeiouc’s courtship with Mathilda Schwantzhacker from the novel “Sarah Binks,” by Paul Hiebert.

  • John the Drunkard February 4, 2017, 9:06 pm

    What about all those improbable names in Ayn Rand? Dagney Taggart….really?

    I don’t think Chitty Chitty Bang Bang had a character names Scrumptious. Just the Disney movie. Caractacus Pott was a good name for the protagonist though.