OF THE BABY NAME JULIA
Julia, as a character, is never given a last name in George Orwell’s famous novel 1984 (indeed, the protagonist himself goes by the most common of surnames, “Smith”). Published in 1949 after World War II, it uses a science fiction genre to tell of an ominous future in which a repressed society lives in a bleak and thought-controlled post global catastrophic future. Julia and Winston Smith fall in love, conduct an affair surreptitiously, and try to plan for a future of freedom. The Thought Police are on to them, however, and they are not only betrayed by a supposed friend, they ultimately end up betraying each other and falling victim to the real aims of the Ruling Party, having glimpsed only momentarily what they had been missing all along.
Julia is the sometimes-love of Proteus, one of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, written by William Shakespeare around 1590-1591. Proteus and his friend, Valentine, travel to Milan to broaden their horizons. Proteus at first goes reluctantly, despairing of leaving Julia, then shortly becomes enamored of Silvia, Valentine’s newly found love. Julia follows them, and seeing her man in these circumstances, disguises herself as a lad, and becomes Proteus’ page, Sebastian. After much wandering in the Shakespearean forests of mixed identies, lovers’ betrayals, bands of marauders, and willful children, the initial lovers are finally reunited, though modern day feminists might just have a little trouble with Julia’s acquiescence with the deal.
Julia Bertram is one of four cousins of Fanny Price, the protagonist of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, published in 1814. While Fanny is gentle and virtuous, Julia (along with her sister, Maria) is vapid and self-serving. Three of the four cousins treat their impoverished cousin as their social inferior, while the fourth, Edmund, is kind to her. Needless to say, in the vernacular of the 19th century, “virtue is its own reward”, but it pays off for Fanny. Julia’s fate is not as scandalous as that her sister, who marries one yet runs away with another!
Julia Hurstwod figures in Theodore Dreiser’s famous 1900 novel, Sister Carrie. She is the wronged wife of the second married man with whom Carrie takes up. The first, the real, Mrs. Hurstwood, a savvy and cool social climber, is not one to take such things lying down. He leaves her and his children, but the financial consequences of doing so drive him to embezzlement and eventual ruin.
Lady Julia Flyte is the elder daughter of Lord and Lady Marchmain in Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 classic, Brideshead Revisited. Beautiful, modern and restless, yet pulled in the opposite direction by the strong Catholic allegiances of her family, she is beloved by Charles Ryder, the narrator (perhaps in large part because she so resembles his friend, her brother, Sebastian). Although she marries another, she divorces him and strongly considers marrying Charles. Ultimately, however, she gives in to the spiritual demands of her church and decides to live alone and chaste.
Two Gentlemen of Verona