You’ve heard that the 1937 and 1951 editions of Chapter 5 are quite different. Here’s our illustration of the comparison.
I’m still intrigued by the uncommon words which are only in the 1937 Chapter 5 and not the 1951 and vice-versa. What else can we see?
- 1937: 1811 words, 152 uncommon words, 8.4% uncommon words
- 1951: 3571 words, 347 uncommon words, 9.7% uncommon words
So – about the same percentage of uncommon words, about 2.2 times as many in the newer as the elder. Good. Now, what about our special categories of words?
- 1937 – none
- 1951 – none – excellent, I’m down with 0 = 0.
- 1937: durstn’t – [1937.05.095] “Here’s the passage,” he whispered. “It musst squeeze in and sneak down. We durstn’t go with it, my precious, no we durstn’t, gollum!”
- 1951: dursn’t – [05.124] He peered in, and shrank back. ‘But we dursn’t go in, precious, no we dursn’t. Goblinses down there. Lots of goblinses. We smells them. Ssss!’
One word in each edition, different spellings of the same word in the same spot in the story, although additions in 1951 give the paragraph a higher number. Very well, then, I will continue to be intrigued by the disappearing T from “durstn’t” and call this “almost no change”. By the way, “leapt” and “smelt” do not qualify as archaic, but I would like to give them a nice shout-out for being older, less-common forms, and in particular “leapt” for its strong-verb status.
What about sound play words?
- 1937: croaking flip-flap fuss spluttering squeeze
- 1951: cracking flapped gurgling hiss hissed hissing screech shriek shrieked shrieking sniffed squeaked squeaker squeaking ssss
Five in ’37 to fifteen in ’51, all of those are called onomatopoeic or echoic or imitative by the OED. Let’s add to that, shall we? What about Gollum’s sibilance, which has made uncommon words out of some common ones?
- 1951: creepsy eyeses goblinses guesses hates iss losst musst nassty pocketses ssorry tricksy (“guesses” and “hates” qualify when gollum-wise-agreeing with “we” as the pronoun!)
Eleven more sound play words. But not all the added Ss are mis-spoken by Gollum; some are spoken correctly by him and some are outside of direct speech.
- cursing guesses noser nosey shambling sharpened sharper sheathed shiver shivering shriek shrieked shrieking side-passages slide slimy sloping smells smelt snag sneaking softer splayed squeezes stab stiffened swayed unlost
Twenty-eight new words with Ss, most of which begin with S. My, my, my.
Once upon a time, I thought of tagging words which bespoke violence or danger, but that proved fruitless.
‘But you speak of him as if he was a friend. I thought Fangorn was dangerous.’
‘Dangerous!’ cried Gandalf. ‘And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord. And Aragorn is dangerous, and Legolas is dangerous. You are beset with dangers, Gimli son of Glóin; for you are dangerous yourself, in your own fashion. Certainly the forest of Fangorn is perilous…’
However, as an exercise, I would like to point out how many of the non-intersecting 1937 vs 1951 words speak to me of peril or just makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up?
- 1937 – recklessly slipping
- 1951 – blindly blood-curdling bowstring crawling creepsy crouched cursing gnaw goblin-imp goblinses groping gurgling hates hiss hissed hissing jagged maddened menacing menacingly nassty noser nosey orcs palely pang panted pinch screech shambling sharpened sharper sheathed shiver shivering shriek shrieked shrieking slimy smells smelt snag sneaking sniffed splayed squeaked squeaker squeaking squeezes stab stiffened swayed tense tricksy tripping tunnels unmarked
Alert readers may notice that some words like “slimy” are listed as non-intersecting although they can be found in both versions. Remember that we analyzed only those paragraphs which differ. “Slimy” is found in paragraphs 11 and 13 in both versions and is added to paragraph 12 and 77 in descriptions of Gollum.
“crack, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2015. Web. 19 June 2015.
“fuss, n.2.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2015. Web. 19 June 2015.
“leap, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2015. Web. 19 June 2015.
“smell, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2015. Web. 19 June 2015.
Tolkien, J.R.R. (2012-02-15). The Lord of the Rings: One Volume (p. 499). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.
footnote: there’s a word for the hair on one’s skin standing up – horripilation. I didn’t want to put cool jargon in the the way of comprehension, but wanted to be sure my Word Fans have this delightful word in their back pocketses!
Only an observation today to satisfy our curiosity. Details and conclusions and error-checking will come in the weeks ahead. These words appear in the 1937 Chapter 5 of The Hobbit and do not appear in the 1951 edition, the one with which we are most familiar:
croaking daresay durstn’t findings flip-flap funnily fuss good-bye jags politely recklessly shuddered slipping sneak sometime spluttering squeeze unsuspecting
My goodness! “Funnily” and “good-bye” and “politely”! what a different feeling. Here follow those words which were added in our 1951 edition. I have included links for those which have entries in the Concordance or other posts:
back-door backwards Baggins betterment birthday-present blindly blood-curdling bowstring brooded cracking crawling creepsy crouched cursing dursn’t eyeses flapped flattened forefinger galled gleamed gnaw goblin-imp goblinses groping guesses gurgling hates hiding-place hiss hissed hissing humped iss jagged leapt losst maddened menacing menacingly mouse musst nassty noser nosey oddments orcs paddling palely pang panted peered pinch pocketses pouch pricked quicker screech shambling sharpened sharper sheathed shiver shivering shriek shrieked shrieking side-passages slide slimy sloping smells smelt snag sneaking sniffed softer splayed squeaked squeaker squeaking squeezes ssorry ssss stab stiffened swayed tense tricksy tripping tunnel-wall tunnels unlost unmarked
Please do note that both editions have “ss”, “sss”, and “sssss” in them – it’s just four esses, “ssss” which is unique to the 1951. So many things to say about these words, but I had better save it for another day, in the morning after coffee when I’m fresh.