Saturday, December 28, 2013


Dorigen Pledging Aurelius by Warwick Goble

Listen up, those of you with a Doris in the family tree. If Imogen is gaining interest, Dorigen is the familiar sounding black swan, just as unique but much more rare. Featured in the Franklin's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales, Dorigen's husband loves her so much that he agrees to an equal-status marriage with her (unheard of!) but he had to leave to go make money. She misses him quite a bit and worries about his safety. While he's gone she gets an unwanted suitor, and whether she was timid or polite, Dorigen let him down a little too gently by saying she would run away with him if he could get rid of every single rock on the coast of Brittany - something she thought was absolutely impossible, something he should have instantly given up on her for. However, her suitor did accomplish her bizarre task, with the help of a magician. By the time her suitor comes back to tell Dorigen he succeeded, her husband has returned. A promise is a promise, and so she and her husband were very upset. Being honorable and good-hearted people, Dorigen claims the only way out of her deal might be to commit suicide, but her husband says to just do what she promised. In the end, seeing how noble the couple is, Dorigen's suitor lets her out of the deal, no harm caused. The morals important to the story are generosity, truth and patience.

Similar to Dorian and Dorchen, Dorigen could be perfect for the right person. Dory, Dora or Gen work as nicknames. A with a familiar first syllable, you could just find a way to honor the Doris in your family tree after all. According to White Pages, there could be as many as 15 people named Dorigen in the U.S. Dorigen could mean "gift at birth/birth gift" or something of the like, coming from the Greek dor, meaning "gift," and the French suffix -gene, meaning "born/birth." (As the Dorigen in Chaucer's story lived in France, this could be possible.)


  1. Oh, I studied 'The Franklin's Tale' at school but had forgotten the name (and most of the story). Thanks for the reminder!

  2. I have never yet met another Dorigen, but it's good to know there's 15 of us across the pond! I didn't know 'dor' meant gift so nice to feel my name has some kind of meaning as well as a wonderful origin.