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

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

 

Synopses & Reviews

From Powells.com:

Erudite noir. "A tale of murder, insanity, and the making of the Oxford English Dictionary," as the book's subtitle explains, The Professor and the Madman tells the true story of Dr. W. C. Minor, a convicted murderer who from his book-lined cell at England?s Broadmoor Lunatic Criminal Asylum provided more than 10,000 definitions for the greatest reference work ever created.... Dave Weich, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)

Publisher Comments:

The Professor and the Madman, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary--and literary history. The compilation of the OED, begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.

Synopsis:

The Professor and the Madman, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary — and literary history. The compilation of the OED, begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [239]-242).

About the Author

Simon Winchester was a geologist at Oxford and worked in Africa and on offshore oil rigs before becoming a full-time globe-trotting foreign correspondent and writer. He currently lives on a small farm in the Berkshires in Massachusetts, an apartment in New York's West Village and in the Western Isles of Scotland.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

soundsourcet, March 21, 2008 (view all comments by soundsourcet)
Winchester's account of Minor's story is engrossing, shocking, salacious, and - most importantly - true. You might pause the next few times you delve into a pocket O.E.D. - you also might start picturing Minor's cell along with those 5 definitions you find, knowing many may have come from this brilliant and disturbed man.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
budimanarief, March 7, 2007 (view all comments by budimanarief)
"This is a great book. I really like read every little part of this book..."
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(7 of 18 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780060994860
Subtitle:
A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary
Author:
Winchester, Simon
Publisher:
Perennial
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
English language
Subject:
History
Subject:
Historical - British
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Encyclopedias and dictionaries
Subject:
Specific Groups - Special Needs
Subject:
Etymology
Subject:
Lexicography
Subject:
Psychiatric hospital patients
Subject:
New English dictionary on historical principles.
Subject:
Lexicographers.
Subject:
Oxford English dictionary
Subject:
Historical
Copyright:
Edition Description:
First Harperperennial edition.
Series Volume:
812-A
Publication Date:
19990825
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.02x5.30x.69 in. .47 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Historical
History and Social Science » World History » General
Rare Books » General
Reference » Books on Books

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary Used Trade Paper
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Product details 272 pages Perennial (HarperCollins) - English 9780060994860 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The Professor and the Madman, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary — and literary history. The compilation of the OED, begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.
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