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

by

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 home.

After numerous refusals from Minor to visit his home in Oxford, Murray set out to find him. It was then that Murray would finally learn the truth about Minor – that, in addition to being a masterly wordsmith, he was also an insane murderer locked up in Broadmoor, an English asylum for criminal lunatics.

The Professor and the Madman is the unforgettable story of the madness and genius that contributed to one of the greatest literary achievements in the history of English letters.

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

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

  • Stephen

    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 (OE...

  • Jeffrey Keeten

    ...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 ...

  • Sean Gibson

    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 ...

  • Will Byrnes

    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...

  • Jason Koivu

    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 spoiler...

  • Kinga

    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 i...

  • Danae

    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 li...

  • Trevor

    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 w...

  • Diane

    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 toge...

  • Debbie Petersen

    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...