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The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (P.S.)

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The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (P.S.) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

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 began in 1857, it 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.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

Review:

"Winchester celebrates a gloomy life brightened by devotion to a quietly noble, nearly anonymous task." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Winchester, investigating an odd bit of background trivia about the making of one of the world's great books, has the courage of his own curiosity. The elegant curio he has created is as enthralling as a good story can be and as informative as any history aspires to be." Salon

Review:

"Remarkably readable....First-rate writing: well-crafted, incisive, abundantly playful." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"Engaging, especially for readers who love words." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"A fascinating tale of madness...a compelling slice of social and intellectual history." Boston Globe

Review:

"Winchester, a British journalist who's written 12 other books, combines a reporter's eye for detail with a historian's sense of scale. His writing is droll and eloquent." USA Today

Synopsis:

Hailed by the New York Times as "a fascinating, spicy, learned tale," this runaway national bestseller takes an extraordinary look into literary genius, madness, and the making of the Oxford English Dictionary.

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 12 comments:

Kacey, December 23, 2013 (view all comments by Kacey)
In the current day and age where we have endless amounts of knowledge available on our mobile devices it's hard to imagine a time without a dictionary. "The Professor and the Madman" can be somewhat pretentious in it's purposeful use of sesquipedalian (long) words, but the story was fascinating! I know the history of the dictionary sounds like a snoozefest, but it gets so crazy it's almost hard to believe! Worth checking out. Very interesting.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
gormoo, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by gormoo)
Brilliantly written. A nonfiction book that reads like a novel.
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SandyCee, September 4, 2011 (view all comments by SandyCee)
I wondered how a book about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary could keep my interest, but from the beginning (the title drew me in), it proved to be an engaging read. The true life tale centers on the lives of the two principals, an American and an Englishman, who had totally different experiences and circumstances but managed to intersect at the time when the dictionary was being created. A fascinating story!
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View all 12 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060839789
Author:
Winchester, Simon
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Author:
by Simon Winchester
Author:
by Simon Winchester
Subject:
English language
Subject:
History
Subject:
Historical - British
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
Specific Groups - Special Needs
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
English language -- Etymology.
Subject:
Lexicographers - Great Britain
Subject:
Biography-Historical
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
20050731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.02x5.32x.68 in. .50 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Historical
Biography » Literary
Featured Titles » Genre
History and Social Science » Linguistics » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Reference » Books on Books

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (P.S.) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780060839789 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Winchester celebrates a gloomy life brightened by devotion to a quietly noble, nearly anonymous task."
"Review" by , "Winchester, investigating an odd bit of background trivia about the making of one of the world's great books, has the courage of his own curiosity. The elegant curio he has created is as enthralling as a good story can be and as informative as any history aspires to be."
"Review" by , "Remarkably readable....First-rate writing: well-crafted, incisive, abundantly playful."
"Review" by , "Engaging, especially for readers who love words."
"Review" by , "A fascinating tale of madness...a compelling slice of social and intellectual history."
"Review" by , "Winchester, a British journalist who's written 12 other books, combines a reporter's eye for detail with a historian's sense of scale. His writing is droll and eloquent."
"Synopsis" by , Hailed by the New York Times as "a fascinating, spicy, learned tale," this runaway national bestseller takes an extraordinary look into literary genius, madness, and the making of the Oxford English Dictionary.

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