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Second Revised Edition of Hobson Jobson

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Second Revised Edition of Hobson Jobson

Date of publication:

  • 1903
  • Binding:

  • modern half calf
  • Publisher:

  • John Murray
  • Hobson-Jobson: being a glossary of Anglo-Indian colloquial words and phrases, and of kindred terms; etymological, historical, geographical and discursive

    First published in 1886, Crooke’s greatly expanded second edition of Hobson Jobson, properly indexed and with additional references, is the definitive version. Read more

    ‘Every one in the East — the book ranges from Constantinople to Japan — should possess himself of Hobson-Jobson and once possessed of it should apply himself diligently thereto’ wrote Kipling, reviewing the first edition in the Civil and Military Gazette.

    Kipling found the title 'uncouth', however. Hobson-Jobson was Anglo-Indian slang for a festival. Yule and Burnell trace the evolution of the phrase from 1618 onward, while suggesting that in its present form it had probably originated with British soldiers in India, being an approximation of ritualised lamentations overheard during the Mourning of Muharram: ‘this phrase may be taken as a typical one of the most highly assimilated class of Anglo-Indian ‘argot’, and we have ventured to borrow from it a concise alternative title for this Glossary’. ‘Assimilated’ in this context means heavily Anglicised, rather than a simple phonetic rendering.

    Hobson and Jobson were stock characters in comic stories in Victorian English, and it may have been this which suggested the phrase to soldiers and which Kipling found so distasteful. In his preface Yule suggests that the ‘veiled intimation of dual authorship’ also appealed, adding (with a defensive flippancy): ‘At any rate, there it is; and at this period my feeling has come to be that such is the book’s name, nor could it well have been anything else’.

    Condition & Materials

    Second, revised edition. 8vo. pp. xlviii, [i], 1021, [i]. Minor worming (small, individual holes, mostly marginal, towards the beginning and end of the book). Modern red half calf over marbled boards, spine lettered direct. Read less