Where Does Herta Müller’s Name Come From?

It was just announced that novelist and poet Herta Müller is the recipient of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. I’ve never read her work — not many have, apparently — but I can tell you something about her name.

Müller, born in Romania, is an ethnic German. Herta is a German name that can be traced back to the name Nerthus, which belonged to a Germanic goddess first mentioned by Roman historian Tacitus around 100 AD. According to Behind the Name, the spelling change “resulted from a misreading of Tacitus’s text.” (This reminds me of the Shakespearean name Imogen, which many modern editors believe is a misspelling of Innogen.)

Do you like the name Herta?

One thought on “Where Does Herta Müller’s Name Come From?

  1. I don’t really care for the way I imagine most Americans would pronounce it, but hearing it in my head as a German would say it sounds very nice.

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