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PRINTED BOOKS
Author Winchester, Simon.

Title The professor and the madman : a tale of murder, insanity, and the making of the Oxford English dictionary / Simon Winchester.

Published New York : HarperCollins Publishers, [1998]
©1998

Copies

Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  423 WINC    AVAILABLE
Edition 1st ed.
Physical description xi, 242 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Notes U.S. edition. Published in England as: The surgeon of Crowthorne : a tale of murder, madness and the love of words. London : Viking, 1998.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages [239]-242).
Summary The creation of the Oxford English Dictionary began in 1857, took seventy years to complete, drew from tens of thousands of brilliant minds, and organized the sprawling language into 414,825 precise definitions. But hidden within the rituals of its creation is a fascinating and mysterious story - a story of two remarkable men whose strange twenty-year relationship lies at the core of this historic undertaking.
Professor James Murray, an astonishingly learned former schoolmaster and bank clerk, was the distinguished editor of the OED project. Dr. William Chester Minor, an American surgeon from New Haven, Connecticut, who had served in the Civil War, was one of thousands of contributors who submitted illustrative quotations of words to be used in the dictionary. But Minor was no ordinary contributor. He was remarkably prolific, sending thousands of neat, handwritten quotations from his home in the small village of Crowthorne, fifty miles from Oxford. On numerous occasions Murray invited Minor to visit Oxford and celebrate his work, but Murray's offer was regularly - and mysteriously - refused.
Thus the two men, for two decades, maintained a close relationship only through correspondence. Finally, in 1896, after Minor had sent nearly ten thousand definitions to the dictionary but had still never traveled from his home, a puzzled Murray set out to visit him. It was then that Murray finally learned the truth about Minor - that, in addition to being a masterful wordsmith, Minor was also a murderer, clinically insane - and locked up in Broadmoor, England's harshest asylum for criminal lunatics.
Other author Winchester, Simon. Professor and the madman.
Subject Murray, James A. H. (James Augustus Henry), 1837-1915 -- Friends and associates.
Minor, William Chester.
Oxford English dictionary.
New English dictionary on historical principles.
Psychiatric hospital patients -- Great Britain -- Biography.
Encyclopedias and dictionaries -- History and criticism.
Lexicographers -- Great Britain -- Biography.
English language -- Lexicography.
English language -- Etymology.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Veterans -- Biography.
ISBN 0060175966