Book Review: The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of OED

The Professor and the Madman

by Simon Winchester

My Rating (1-5): 4 ♥

It doesn’t seem like a story about The Oxford English Dictionary would be that interesting, but throw in a madman and you’ve got a intriguing novel. A good mix of the stories behind some of the major people involved and informative history about the making of the OED.

Oxford English Dictionary Facts

  • est. 5 million quotations submitted by contributors and 1,861,200 quotations were used in the first edition of the  dictionary
  • William Shakespeare is the most-quoted writer, with Hamlet his most-quoted word
  • It took approximately 70 years to finish
  • James Murray was the editor (the professor)
  • Dr. William Chester Minor was a major contributor to the dictionary (the madman)
  • First Edition: 10 volumes, 15,490 pages & Second Edition: 20 volumes, 21,730 pages

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine


About Inner Love

I want: Passion. Desire. To create Cosmos. I want: Expression. Depth. Meaning. I want: Joy. Laughter. Love. I want: Life. View all posts by Inner Love

7 responses to “Book Review: The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of OED

  • webmistress

    Thanks for the book post, you too inspire me as i`m about to continue my small venture into writing and getting back to reading in my spare time, just been to busy lately for books.

    Always great to learn a few new info about age old people, places and things. A 4 rating is very low in the appeal and interests factor, but perhaps others who read it would give a higher one…hopefully not any lower.

    Keep up the good work

  • dedalus9

    Haven’t read the book, but I’ve read at least 0.001% of the OED. I love my OED disproportionately to my use of it. My hard copy is two gigantic volumes with writing so small it came with a magnifying glass. The computer program is much more practical (even though the price was a bit impractical for a dictionary!). Still, the OED makes free online dictionaries and Webster’s look like they were assembled by the pet monkeys of dim third graders.

  • slamdunk

    Interesting that the movie rights were sold to someone else now frequently referred to as “Mad”–Mel Gibson.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: