Word Ways


Samuel Taylor Coleridge's nonce-spelling XANNADU appears in the Crewe manuscript for "Kubla Khan, or a Fragment in a Dream" (T.C. Skeat, British Museum Quarterly 26 (1963), pp 77-83. Corrected or respelled XANADU in the printed version in 1816, this deserves a bit more etymological, linguistic consideration. The initial question is this: did it derive from Purchase His Pilgrimage alone, Coleridge having admitted the influence of this 1613-14 travel book, or from Purchase in combination with Milton's Paradise Lost, as J.B. Beer has claimed in Coleridge the Visionary (London 1959) I, 216? If the latter, was the word in Purchase XAMDU as Beer proposes, or rather XAINDU as in the first and second editions of the Pilgrimage, the leading source?