Taking My Name In Vain

While editing a short story last night, as I went to check the hyphenation of a word, my own name Paul jumped out at me!

Chambers Dictionary lists Paul Pry asa person who pries into other people’s business. [The eponymous character in John Poole’s play (1825)]

Intrigued, I investigated further. Wikipedia describes Paul Pry as: a comical, idle, meddlesome and mischievous fellow consumed with curiosity.

Image result for liston in paul pry

Well, that fits me!

I was christened Paul after my father, who was named after his father, who was named after his father, all of us with the name of a British king as a middle name…John, in my case.

Curiously enough, my mother used to tell inquisitive infant me to stop prying” when I was being nosy about something, though I doubt she knew of a 19th-century play.

My surname of Whybrow is uncommon, though as I knew of a couple of writers called Whybrow, I experimented with the pen name of Augustus Devilheart when I first returned to creative writing. Marion Whybrow wrote art books and Ian Whybrow writes children’s books; neither are related to me. Using a pen name was too complicated for me, so I reverted to my birth name.

There’s a village near Penzance, Cornwall, called Paul. Whenever I’m overtaken with a fit of egomania, I imagine moving there and changing my name by deed poll, so that I’m Paul Paul of Paul House, Paul. (The men in white coats are coming to take me away).

Of Pauls in fiction, who I like, there’s Paul Atreides in the Frank Herbert’s Dune universe, Paul Sheldon in Stephen King’s Misery, Paul Morel in Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence…and what of the Apostle Paul?

Does your name have any literary connotations?

Did an author take your name in vain with a fictional character?

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