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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by Harper Collins,
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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