Names from Children’s Literature – Esmé

Esmé Gigi Geniveve Squalor is a minor character in the darkly comic A Series of Unfortunate Events books by Lemony Snicket (real name: Daniel Handler). She’s a financial advisor (the city’s “sixth-most-important”). She’s also obsessed with always doing the “in” thing.

Her name was inspired by the J. D. Salinger story “For Esmé with Love and Squalor,” originally published in The New Yorker in 1950. In fact, many characters in the Unfortunate Events series have names that allude to either literature or real people. (Thanks to Novac at Smarmy Carny for letting me know about this!)

The name Esmé means “esteemed” or “loved” in Old French.


4 thoughts on “Names from Children’s Literature – Esmé

  1. My mum has a friend called Esmé, I think she’s about 94 and still smokes 40 a day…

    Er, random. Hope all’s good with you.

  2. Great series you’re blogging today! Keep up the good work!

    About Esmé: the name Esmee/Esmée is very popular in The Netherlands and has been so for the past few years. The combined spelling was in place 15 on the 2006 list of newborns, right between Isa and Femke.

    More and more Dutch parents are choosing for Esmay nowadays, that spelling is more frequent than Esme or Esmé.

  3. In fact, when we first meet Esme in the series, she is with her husband named Jerome. (Jerome is the “J” in J.D. Salinger.)

  4. Emma, thanks for the info! I don’t usually hear much about names in The Netherlands, so that’s cool to know.

    Thanks for dropping by, John and Novac.

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