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?