Saturday, April 7, 2012
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is a very well studied novel, and people can recognize the story even if they've never read the book. The base of the plot: a picture that is painted of Dorian ages in place of himself. In the end, he kills himself by stabbing the painting with a knife, the curse/wish being reversed. Now, that doesn't make Dorian an awful choice for a baby name. It is Greek, meaning "descendant of Doris (a sea nymph)," although it is possible Oscar Wilde coined the name based on something very similar. It is also a tribal Greek name and a Greek place name, and the name of a musical mode, so it was used long before the book. Besides, it's quite dashing and sophisticated. The literary Dorian was, after all, handsome. Be sure to see the movie or read the book.
In 2010 Dorian ranked #500 and there were 512 baby boys born with this name. So, not too popular, but very well recognized, and apparently most people can get over any negative literary association. Alternate spellings persist, such as Dorion and Dorean, both of which were given to five boys in 2013.