I just recently found out about Google’s Ngram Viewer. This neat little gadget allows you to search within the books on Google Books, from 1820 to 2000, for words or phrases. It then graphs the percentage of books from these different years where the word or phrase shows up.
Let’s see what we can find.
Warriors hit their heyday in 1851, but have been making a comeback since about 1978. Hmmm – what else happened around 1978. Wizards were never as popular as warriors, but they started an upswing in 1991, pre-Harry Potter even!
Speaking of the grand old game …
Well, perhaps 1975. Makes me wonder about the miniscule references to the phrase “Dungeons & Dragons” in the 1940’s and 1960’s. A few of the mentions appear in the following tomes:
Boy’s Life, 1980 – an advertisement
Freshman Register – Mark Lloyd Coleman represents!
InfoWorld, 1979 – Chamelion releases a solo dungeon adventure!
How about monsters?
The traditional dragon remains more popular than the vampire, but the vamps are gaining ground.
And those damn zombies …
… relentless, as always.
As for my own baby …
… things are looking up!
One thought on “Crunching the Literary Numbers”
I had way too much fun playing with that last night. Reduce the smoothing of the curves and there were 1 or 2 hits on dungeons and dragons near 1860.
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