Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Winchester celebrates a gloomy life brightened by devotion to a quietly noble, nearly anonymous task." Publishers Weekly
"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
"Remarkably readable....First-rate writing: well-crafted, incisive, abundantly playful." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Engaging, especially for readers who love words." San Francisco Chronicle
"A fascinating tale of madness...a compelling slice of social and intellectual history." Boston Globe
"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
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 is the acclaimed author of many books, including The Professor and the Madman, Atlantic, The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge of the World, and Krakatoa. In 2006, Mr. Winchester was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen. He lives in western Massachusetts.