What’s in a Name?
I was once interviewing Kingsley Amis when he mused, apropos of nothing, ‘Quinn . . . a Manx name, isn’t it?’ I mumbled that I thought it was Irish myself, since that’s where my forebears came from. ‘Yes, from the Isle of Man,’ he continued, ‘derived from McGuinn.’ Was it? The curious thing is that thirty years later I still haven’t bothered to find out. It feels of no more consequence to me than taking my own fingerprint. Amis’s friend Anthony Powell, a connoisseur of pedigree, would have been able to identify the name’s origin and place it exactly in the social pecking order. Not high, I imagine.