Here Nige posed the Dabbler’s first Round Blogworld Quiz question, namely:
What word links a cult TV series that started with a bang to the following? A weary organist’s quest. A solitary Oxford bondmaid. And Hudson’s Purple Land.
And the answer is …LOST. And the particular elements…
The TV series LOST began with a spectacular aircrash.
The ‘weary organist’ refers to Arthur Sullivan’s song The LOST Chord (‘Seated one day at the organ, I was weary and ill at ease…’). Suillivan wrote the song at his brother’s deathbed. It was instantly popular and he was so proud of it that he later said: “I have composed much music since then, but have never written a second Lost Chord.”
Caruso sang it at a benefit concert two weeks after the sinking of the Titanic:
‘Bondmaid‘, an archaic term to describe young female slaves, was the only word LOST by James Murray during the 70 years it took him to complete the First Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. It had appeared in Samuel Johnson’s dictionary in the 1750s, but Murray mislaid it among the millions of slips of paper that filled a crowded study he called his ‘Scriptorium’. The oversight wasn’t noticed until after the volume Battentlie – Bozzom had been published, and bondmaid had to wait decades until the rest of the dictionary was completed before editors could find a spot for it. The word finally showed up in the OED’s first supplement, printed in 1933.
Finally, W.H. Hudson’s novel The Purple Land was first published in 1885 under the full title The Purple Land That England LOST (the land in question being Uruguay). It was initially a commercial and critical failure, but was reissued in 1904 with the even fuller and not-at-all catchy title The Purple Land, Being One Richard Lamb’s Adventures in the Banda Orientál, in South America, as told by Himself.
Jorge Luis Borges dedicated an essay to The Purple Land in his book Other Inquisitions (1952). He compared Hudson’s novel to the Odyssey and described it as perhaps the “best work of gaucho literature“.
Well done to anyone who got any of that, with or without Google!