The Noun Phrase of Noun
May 14, 2020 8:08 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for nicknames of literary or historical figures, especially, although not exclusively, ones that take the form 'The X of Y'. Example: 'The Bard of Avon'.
posted by Acheman to Writing & Language (47 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
assuming that films count as small values of literary:

The Warrior of the Wasteland
The Ayatollah of Rock-and-Rollah
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:12 AM on May 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

The Wizard of Menlo Park!
posted by sagc at 8:24 AM on May 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Googling “the butcher of” and letting it autocomplete gives you a whole mix of Nazis, serial killers, generals, footballers… if fact there are so many you can just pick a first letter for the placename and get a new list of suggestions.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 8:24 AM on May 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

The Maid of Orléans (Jeanne d'Arc/Joan of Arc)
posted by lioness at 8:27 AM on May 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Also The Wizard of Schenectady
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:28 AM on May 14, 2020

the Sheik of Scrubby Creek

if you try to tell me Chad Morgan isn't a historical figure I will fight you
posted by flabdablet at 8:28 AM on May 14, 2020

The Sultan of Swat
posted by Tabitha Someday at 8:30 AM on May 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

You can get a fair number of these by putting "the [animal] of" or "the [animal] of the" into Google and see what pops up in autocomplete. Poetic animals work best.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:43 AM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Father of English Literature is used to describe Chaucer
posted by cthlsgnd at 8:50 AM on May 14, 2020

The Myth of Amherst, the Nun of Amherst, & (after her death) the Belle of Amherst - Emily Dickinson
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:11 AM on May 14, 2020

Ha, I've just discovered that Florence Nightingale was The Lady with the Lamp. Always thought she was of it. Whoops.

Herodotus was the Father of History... or the Father of Lies.

There are a few fitting the pattern in this Wikipedia list of monarchs' sobriquets:

"Champion of the Reformation": John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony
"Father of Europe" (Latin: "Pater Europae"): Charlemagne
"Father-in-law of Europe": Christian IX of Denmark and also Nicholas I of Montenegro
"First Gentleman of Europe": Louis XV of France
"Fox of Mecklenburg": Albert II of Mecklenburg
"Grandmother of Europe": Queen Victoria
"Hammer of the North": Harald III of Norway
"Hammer of the Scots": Edward I of England
"He of the Little Dagger" or "The One Of The Little Dagger" (Catalan: "el del Punyalet"): Peter IV of Aragon
"The King of May" (Italian: "Re di maggio"): Umberto II of Italy
"Lion of Justice": Henry I of England; Henry II of England
"Lion of the North": Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden
"Napoleon of the Pacific": Kamehameha I of Hawai‘i
"The Prince of Whales": George IV of the United Kingdom
"The Scourge of God": Attila the Hun
"Thief of Cairo": Farouk of Egypt
"The Uncle of Europe": Edward VII of the United Kingdom
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:18 AM on May 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

The Arabic name for the Great Sphinx of Giza translates to "The Father of Dread"
posted by theodolite at 9:33 AM on May 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier
posted by mefireader at 9:36 AM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Do you consider famous pro wrestlers to be historical figures?

The Excellence of Execution, aka The Hitman, aka The Best There Is, Best There Was, and the Best There Ever Will Be

The Voice of the Voiceless, aka the Second City Savior, aka the Straightedge Superstar

Dean Malenko was called "The Man of 1000 Holds" because of his mat-based, submission-style wrestling, but he inherited/stole the title from Earl Caddock.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 9:41 AM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Merchant of Venice
The Witches of Eastwick
The Mother of Dragons
posted by n. moon at 9:48 AM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Scoffing Scholar of Lanling was the otherwise anonymous author of The Plum in the Golden Vase, a 17th Century novel from China.
posted by Wobbuffet at 9:49 AM on May 14, 2020

The Napoleon of Crime - Professor Moriarty
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 9:51 AM on May 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

If musicals count? The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
posted by the_blizz at 9:52 AM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

The blind composer Moondog was known as The Viking of 6th Avenue.
posted by niicholas at 9:53 AM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I grew up using Michael Jordan as the pinnacle of excellence. So the Michael Jordan of airline pilots. The Michael Jordan of waitresses. It's better when you're watching basketball and you can say something like "Man, James Harden is like the Michael Jordan of basketball".
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:02 AM on May 14, 2020

This previous AskMe has examples, but they are not limited exclusively to literary and historical figures.
posted by Rob Rockets at 10:23 AM on May 14, 2020

In high literature Ghostbusters 2, Egon quotes some fictitious literature as referring the bad guy as The Scourge of Carpathia and The Sorrow of Moldovia
posted by aubilenon at 10:33 AM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Are comic book characters literary? The Joker (from Batman) has the nickname "The Clown Prince of Crime" (among others).

WWI fighter pilot Eddie Rickenbacker was known as "The Ace of Aces".

Professional poker player Barry Greenstein is nicknamed "The Robin Hood of Poker".
posted by mhum at 10:33 AM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Judge Roy Bean "The Law West of the Pecos"
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:00 AM on May 14, 2020

Leona Helmsley, The Queen of Mean
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 11:08 AM on May 14, 2020

Depending on your cut-off point for ‘historical’, Dennis Skinner - referred to by detractors and admirers alike as ‘The Beast of Bolsover’.
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 11:25 AM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Lyndon Johnson, the Master of the Senate
posted by jgirl at 11:46 AM on May 14, 2020

Does the Son of God count?
posted by flabdablet at 12:33 PM on May 14, 2020

There's a character in the Max Max movies named The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla, which inspired a song by the same name.
posted by jquinby at 1:11 PM on May 14, 2020

Movie: The King of Marvin Gardens.
posted by dobbs at 1:51 PM on May 14, 2020

Les Paul, "the Wizard of Waukesha"
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 1:53 PM on May 14, 2020

the Mama of Dada, the mother of modernism, the Mother Goose of Montparnasse, the high priestess of the Left Bank, the queen bee of the expatriate hive - Gertrude Stein

The Pope of Greenwich Village - 1979 novel, 1984 movie
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:21 PM on May 14, 2020

Oh, didn't paste over: The King of Comedy - 1982 movie (released in US in 1983)
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:29 PM on May 14, 2020

The Duke of Earl
posted by Kangaroo at 3:50 PM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Fred Johnson, “The Butcher of Anderson Station” (The Expanse series)
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:58 PM on May 14, 2020

  • The God of Cookery
  • The titular “Broadway Danny Rose” describes his client (who plays the water glass harp) as “The Jascha Heifetz of this instrument”
  • Ben Richards, The Butcher of Bakersfield
  • Ilsa (of exploitation film infamy) has been She-Wolf of the SS, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks, Tigress of Siberia
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • In Marvel Comics, Magneto is know as “The Master of Magnetism”
  • Gene Simmons, God of Thunder

posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 4:30 PM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Anatomist of Humanity, the King of Dramatists - Molière
The Man of La Mancha, the Knight of the Rueful Figure or the Knight of the Woeful Countenance [El Caballero de la Triste Figura] - Don Quixote
Untier of Knots, Undoer of Knots, Queen of Heaven, Queen of Peace, Refuge of Sinners, Mother of the Word, Mother of Sorrows, and more - Mary
conductor of men, sacker of cities, raider of cities, shepherd of men, man of twists and turns, man of exploits, and more - Epithets in Homer

Mythology is rife with the ___ of ____ construction; the Greek goddess Artemis was the Lady of the Lake to some worshippers, the Nurse of Children and/or the Lady of Clamours to others. OP, you might like Sobriquets and Nicknames (1887) & A Dictionary of Names, Nicknames and Surnames, of Persons, Places and Things (1904)
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:52 PM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Warden of the North
Warden of the South
Warden of the West
Warden of the East
Prince of Dorne
Lord Reaper of the Isles
Prince of Dragonstone
King of the Andals, The Rhoynar, and The First Men, Protector of the Realm

Defender of the Faith
Defenders of the Earth
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:57 PM on May 14, 2020

-the Witch of the West
-the Golem of Prague
-the Lady of Shallot, maybe
posted by queen anne's remorse at 7:13 PM on May 14, 2020

The Beauty Queen of Schneizlreuth
posted by flug at 8:25 PM on May 14, 2020

The Grand Old Duke of York (he had 10,000 men...)
The Prince of Lies
The Prince of Darkness

If you also accept the NP of NP structure:

The Phantom of the Opera
The Ghost of Christmas Past
The Lord of the Dance
posted by lollusc at 11:17 PM on May 14, 2020

I’m a fan of a reduplicative name. It was Churchill, i think. I don’t want to misspell. In English it would be something like “the Londoner of london”
posted by Sterros at 3:19 AM on May 15, 2020

James Brown: The Godfather of Soul

Gráinne O’Malley: The Sea-Queen of Connemara

The Sheriff of Nottingham
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:50 AM on May 15, 2020

MetaFilter: a whole mix of Nazis, serial killers, generals, footballers…
posted by kirkaracha at 10:57 PM on May 15, 2020

« Older Need to make online animation of business process...   |   Pick out my new dishwasher! Please! Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments