How did we get to this list?

If I were to publish a standard concordance (software freely available) of all the words, each entry would have a few words before and a few after my Entry word.  If your computer is clever enough, it could put together the text of The Hobbit from all those overlapping words as you can see:

  • in a HOLE in the ground
  • a hole IN the ground there
  • hole in THE ground there lived.

This is my understanding of scholarly fair use:  I may chop up the words and write about them, but not in a way that your computer could put the text back together.  My idea was to chop up the text approximately into phrases with no overlap between them.  You may know that “in a hole” and “in the ground” are both in paragraph [01.001], but you don’t know in what order.  I marked up my hand-typed copy with [paragraph number] xx at the start of each paragraph and xx where I wanted to chop apart phrases.  Chopping apart phrases was a story in itself, I’m sure a post will come later.

Given that text preparation, my son wrote a Python script to make the concordance and index.  For your own copy of the script, which he publishes under a Lesser General Public License, click here.  You’ll find a Read Me, instructions, the concordance script, and others which he created for this project.

So Many Editions! or all the pretty paragraphs

Many, many editions of The Hobbit abound – hooray that this story is dear to millions of readers!  With many editions, using a page number for a quote or idea reference can be problematic.  In my Hobbit-word study, I’ve made an index of the paragraphs of the work and given each paragraph a unique number.  When you see a quotation here or in the concordance which is my goal, you can just zip to the index to help you find it in your own edition to get context.

1951 Hobbit Paragraph Index

In the future, I’ll be exploring the 1937 edition; here’s the paragraph index of 1942 edition’s Chapter V.  This one is identical as far as I know to the 1937, and John Rateliff kindly helped me to locate this from the Children’s Book Club.

You can also find these paragraph index links on the About page.