The cover of the first edition of 'Riddley Walker'

The cover of the
first edition


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The Riddley Walker Concordance

This site offers a Key Word in Context (KWIC) Concordance to Russell Hoban's 1980 novel Riddley Walker.

The text of Riddley Walker is © 1980 Russell Hoban, and this concordance is made available online with his consent.

The Language of Riddley Walker

Russell Hoban's dystopian masterpiece is characterised by its idiosyncractic word forms, an attempt to create the impression of a degraded future English, while nonethless remaining comprehensible.

The aim of this concordance is to provide a tool for the exploration of the unique language of the novel.

In fact the novel includes three different forms of English: in addition to Riddley's own narration ("Riddleyspeak", as Hoban called it), he quotes from the Eusa story (in an even more distorted form of English) and the Modern English text of the Legend of St Eustace in Chapter 14. The concordance search results indicate if a word comes from one of these other Englishes.

The Searchable Concordance

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Left context (preceding words)
Right context (following words)

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The Printed Concordance

The concordance is also available as a set of static pages on the official Russell Hoban site.

A B C D E F G H I J K L N O P Q R S T U V X Y Z & 0-9

A Note on Page Numbering

Page numbers in the concordance refer to

which used identical printing plates.

The first UK paperback edition, published by Picador in 1982, reused the Cape plates but saved space by not always starting a chapter on a new page. As a result there are 214 pages in total, rather than the 220 of the Cape edition, and only the first two chapters start on the same page number.

The 2012 Gollancz edition in the SF Masterworks series was completely reset, though the page breaks, particularly in the early chapters, fall in very similar places.

The 2021 Penguin edition in the Modern Classics was again completely reset, with significantly less text on each page.

The table shows the respective start pages of each chapter in

  1. the original Cape edition (which the Indiana U.P. and Bloomsbury editions follow),
  2. the 1982 Picador edition,
  3. the 2012 Gollancz edition, and
  4. the 2021 Penguin edition.

No attempt has been made to match the Kindle edition, which in any case contains a significant number of "misprints".

Chapter Cape Picador Gollancz Penguin
1    1*111
2    8*889
3    16151618
4    22*212224
5    26*252629
6    30283033
7    37*353740
8    44414447
9    54*515458
10    63596368
11    71677177
12    88848895
13    106101105114
14    117112116126
15    149143147160
16    171*166168184
17    196190192211
18    211205206227
end    220214215237

For the Picador edition, asterisks mark the chapters which start at the top of the page and where the page-breaks are therefore in the same place as in the Cape edition.

The Riddley Walker Concordance is hosted by The Spoonbill Generator