The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

Hidden within the rituals of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary is a fascinating mystery. Professor James Murray was the distinguished editor of the OED project. Dr. William Chester Minor, an American surgeon who had served in the Civil War, was one of the most prolific contributors to the dictionary, sending thousands of neat, hand-written quotations from his h...

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Title:The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
Author:Simon Winchester
Rating:
ISBN:0060839783
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:242 pages

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary Reviews

  • Diane
    Aug 14, 2007
    Calling all bibliophiles! Have you ever wondered how that magnificent beast, the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary (OED), came into being? Well, this is the book for you.Simon Winchester weaves together the story of two men in Victorian England: one was Professor James Murray, who was editing what...
  • Debbie Petersen
    Jul 10, 2008
    This book has been on my to-read list for some time, and I had a few preconceived ideas that turned out to be wrong. For instance, I had assumed that the "madman" would have been someone psychotically insane, the type of man that you would pass in the street and cross to the other side, since he wou...
  • Trevor
    Sep 04, 2008
    I have been meaning to read this book for years – I couldn’t even tell you when I first saw it or heard about it and thought it would be a good idea to read. Then I saw a copy in a bookshop that was going cheap and bought it on my way to my mother’s place. I showed it to her and then ...
  • Danae
    Sep 09, 2008
    This is a perfect example of a book that I wish had been written by David McCullough. I gave it three stars based primarily on potential--the story itself was very interesting; the writing was more like 2 stars. I cannot believe this man has been able to make his living as a writer on two continents...
  • Jason Koivu
    Nov 22, 2008
    A man goes insane, shoots another man to death and then helps write one of the first complete dictionaries. What an odd way to enter the academic world!And believe it or not, those aren't even spoilers! Simon Winchester gives us all that right in the title of his surprisingly riveting read The Profe...
  • Kinga
    Jan 20, 2011
    If you know me personally or almost personally, then you should be aware that I am quite mad. I have a heavy obsession with the alphabet, with inventing bizarre systems that rule just about anything in my life and catalouging things. It is quite obvious that a book about a lunatic and creating Oxfor...
  • Will Byrnes
    Feb 18, 2011
    Professor James Murray was one of the primary editors of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Dr Chester Minor, was one of the primary contributors to the massive project. But Murray did not know that Minor was an inmate in an insane asylum. Simon Winchester - image from Andersons Bookshop The book ...
  • Stephen
    May 15, 2011
    As a completely fledged bibliopsychotic and an ever-striving-to-be cunning-linguist , I was all aquiver with anticipation to bury my face in this purported history of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Alas, despite being well-written and thoroughly researched, I’m having to fake it a bit to ...
  • Sean Gibson
    Apr 13, 2015
    People tend to juxtapose the idea of reading the dictionary with other activities as a means of underscoring how incredibly uninteresting and undesirable those other activities are. For example: “I have to interact with Sean today…UGH. I’d much rather read the dictionary.”This is...
  • Jeffrey Keeten
    Nov 22, 2015
    ...for each word, there should be sentences that show the twists and turns of meanings—the way almost every word slips in its silvery, fishlike way, weaving this way and that, adding subtleties of nuance to itself, and then perhaps shedding them as public mood dictates.” Herbert Coleridg...