V is for Vivienne
We’re a rare breed these days, us Viviennes (or Vivian, Vyvian, Vivien etc). The name, never hugely popular, has become unusual. If I come across another person (I say person because the name is unisex, with variations on spelling) with the name, I find we tend to greet each other with some glee. A couple of years ago, the attendant at the top of the Tour Montparnasse in Paris was another Vivienne; we spotted each other’s name badges and grinned spontaneously. Once I’d got the group inside, we stopped to chat, bewailing the decline of a great name. Mine is the French spelling but the origin of the name is probably Latin, from the adjective vivus, meaning alive.
Famous Viviennes include the Lady of the Lake in Arthurian legends, though there are many versions of her name. I rather like the idea of my name being that of such an entity. Other Viviennes include actress Vivien Leigh, designer Vivienne Westwood, and cricketer Viv Richards. Fictional ones include Vyvian from comedy series The Young Ones and Viven Ward in the film Pretty Woman. Here’s a link to Wiki’s page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivian_(personal_name) on Viv-type names. Alas I am not on it. Yet.
There are several saints with the name, from an early Christian bishop (male) to two female saints in 3rd and 4th centuries https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Bibiana The fourth century saint (you may be wondering about the Bibiana rather than Viviana, but Bs and Vs shift over time and are often interchangeable) is listed as a patron saint of such various things as: epileptics, hangovers, headaches, insanity, mental illness, mentally ill people, single laywomen, torture victims. I find this…comforting, though her death was hideous and her life (according to various hagiographies) difficult and painful. There’s a certain symmetry to sharing my name with such a lady.
Viva (long live) Vivienne ☼
Yeah, Vyvyan from the Young Ones is who immediately sprung to mind. 🙂
Interesting about Bs and Vs, Vivienne. Not only are they next to each other on the QWERTY keyboard, but the Russian B is pronounced V. Sue
It’s part of Grimms’ Law of consonant shift; p’s, v’s and b’s shift into each other over time https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grimm%27s_law. The Qwerty keyboard was designed to slow down typists in the days when manual typewriters jammed if the typists typed too fast, so the placement of the keys is to do with the frequency of usage of each letter.
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I knew about the typewriter, but the consonant shift is very interesting. Thank you fo the link, Vivienne. Sue
I shall name a character Vivienne (or Vyvian, or Vivien) in your honour!
Someone did so, in a book I don’t think I will ever read (V for Vixen, I believe) and the main character was named after me. A rather odd thing, especially as it’s soft porn/erotica (or so I was told). I did once know a Sister Vivienne…
I just checked and thankfully, the author decided to go for Victoria instead. I did make some protest noises when I was told about it.