English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In the new novel of Jeffery Archer, “False Impression,” there is the following conversation between the heroine, Anna Petrescu who has snatched Van Gogh’s self-portrait away from a murderer banker, Bryce Fenston, and is trying to sell it to Nakamura, a Japanese business leader and well-known art collectors on behalf of the proper British proprietor, Arabella Wentworth:


“Van Gogh.”


“Self-portrait with Bandaged Ear.”

“With a famous Japanese print reproduced on the wall behind the artist, if I remember correctly,” said Nakamura.

“Geisha in a Landscape,” said Anna, “demonstrating Van Gogh’s fascination with Japanese culture.”

You should have been christened Eve,” said Nakamura.

"Now it's my turn." Anna looked surprised.

"I presume that it has to be the Wentworth Self-portrait purchased by the fifth earl?"

I don’t know what “You should have been christened Eve,” means. I came across the phrase, christened Eve, for the first time. Can you tell me what it means?

share|improve this question
Christened means named. The quote means You should have been named Eve; though I don't know why. – Daniel Oct 12 '11 at 0:54
Nakamura may be calling her a temptress, via reference to the original Eve. – jwpat7 Oct 12 '11 at 1:27
Van Gogh severed his ear on Christmas Eve, 1888. Maybe that is the "Eve"? – GEdgar Oct 12 '11 at 1:35
Tempted to -1 for reading Jeffrey Archer :) – Snubian Oct 12 '11 at 1:57
@GEdger. Van Gogh severed his left ear on Christmas Eve in 1888 in the small town of Arles, and gave his severed ear to a whore named Rachel as an early Christmas gift. She passed out upon unwrapping it, according to “Van Gogh Ear” by Adam Gopmic in New Yorker. A weird story. But Nakamura’s comment, “You should have been christened Eve” seem to be irrelevant to this Christmas Eve happening. – Yoichi Oishi Oct 20 '11 at 9:44

You left out an earlier statement by Anna Petrescu: "I believe I have a painting that you will be unable to resist."

Nakamura is referring to the biblical Eve who tempted Adam with the apple, which Adam could not resist. The statement "you should have been christened Eve" is a way of intimating that Anna is just like Eve.

share|improve this answer
@DKuleger. I advertently overlooked the preceding line of Anna, “I believe I have a painting that you will be unable to resist," you pointed out. Yes, "You should have been christened Eve" exactly corresponds to the temptation “you will be unable to resist." I think it decodes my question clearly. I appreciate your being kind enough to track back the rest of the original text which preceded as much as 15 lines ahead of the phrase in question. – Yoichi Oishi Oct 12 '11 at 2:15

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.