Why do authors use pseudonyms and pen-names, or ingeniously hide names in their work with acrostics and anagrams? How has the range of permissible given names changed and how is this reflected in literature? Why do some characters remain mysteriously nameless? In this rich and learned book, Alastair Fowler explores the use of names in literature of all periods - primarily English but also Latin, Greek, French, and Italian - casting an unusual and rewarding light on the work of literature itself. He traces the history of names through Homer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Thackeray, Dickens, Joyce, and Nabokov, showing how names often turn out to be the thematic focus. Fowler shows that the associations of names, at first limited, become increasingly salient and sophisticated as literature itself develops.