Which character has the worst name in fiction? (Didn’t Orson Scott Card have an alien villain named Swishy McLiberalstein?)
Before David Baddiel turned literary critic, he suggested that the problem with Dickens was that all his characters were called “Mr Nasty Bastard” or some other wholly descriptive moniker. He had a point. The 19th century is chock full of characters with unlikely, highly imaginative names â€“ most of which came from Dickens’s pen. But his facility with names makes his stories fizz, which is necessary when you want to keep people reading over the course of 20 instalments. Who wants to meet the Black family or the Smiths of Camden, when you can hang out with Micawber, Pecksniff, Chuzzlewit or Toots?