Editorial Reviews. computerescue.info Review. The compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary, 70 years in the making, was an intellectually heroic feat with a twist. A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. Simon Winchester’s classic about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary—soon to be a major motion picture starring Sean Penn and Mel Gibson. The making of the Oxford English Dictionary was one of. Jul 6, Read The Professor and the Madman PDF - by Simon Winchester Harper | Mysterious (mistîe · ries), a. [f. L. mystérium Mysteryi + ous.
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Aug 22, The Professor and the Madman, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible. The professor and the madman — a tale of murder, insanity and the making of the Oxford English The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (K). Aug 8, new PDF The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary Full Online, new.
Hence, the OED can best be appreciated if it is located within the wider social and cultural priorities of Victorian Britain, particularly its obsession with collecting and classifying, both useful hobbies in a growing empire.
The fact that its foundations were first laid down at a meeting held in hints of these imperial overtones, for that year witnessed the outbreak of the Indian Rebellion, a series of uprisings in India that threatened the very survival of the British Raj. One of the chief lessons the British learned from that experience was the need for information, and the means to classify, analyze, and disseminate it.
Philology and lexicography were crucial components of this will to know that also came to include other disciplines such as statistics, ethnology, and natural history. For those reasons, many readers would not dispute the author's declaration though they may take umbrage at the assumptions that underpin it that, "It is an awe-inspiring work, the most important reference book ever made, and, given the unending importance of the English language, probably the most important that is ever likely to be" It was also a long time in coming.
First mooted in , it was only in that Oxford University Press took it on, and did so on the assumption that the project would culminate ten years later in a four-volume reference work. Instead, and like many academic projects, the publishers would be very quickly disabused of their faith in the pace of scholarly productivity.
The OED would not be complete until , and by then it had trebled in size to twelve volumes. Yet few readers would anticipate that such a robustly Victorian institution as the OED could have an exciting history-a worthy history of course, and perhaps even an intriguing history, but the very idea of an electrifying history of a dictionary would strike many as oxymoronic at least.
Nor would we expect lexicographers to be fitting subjects for a book intended for a wide readership.
[PDF] FREE The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford
Even the most famous lexicographer of all, Samuel Johnson and himself the subject of a number of exceptional biographies , described the lexicographer as "a writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge, that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words" Hardly promising as the basis for a book aimed at a popular audience.
But Minor was neither harmless or a drudge. He experienced frequent fits of paranoia, often complaining of strange nocturnal visitors who sneaked into his room at night and did bizarre things to him.
They were bright and brilliant but like many hyper intelligent people wound too tight. They felt things too intently. Two of his brothers committed suicide. Minor was beset by twisted, shattered dreams involving Irish people trying to kill.
He was a self-reproaching masturbator who also has vivid nightmares which fueled his already prodigious self-abuse.
This all culminated in one final act which made it readily apparent that his incarceration was the only option left for society. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship between the Madman and the Professor, without the added distractions of Ingrid Bergman or Paul Henreid.
Though Minor was held in Broadmoor for the criminally insane, he had money and, therefore, could enjoy more luxury than the normal inmate. In fact, he rented a second cell, and that became his sitting room and library.
He paid another inmate to build him beautiful, teak bookshelves.
His wealth enabled him to also download expensive antique books from bookstores not only in England, but from America as well. Considering the circumstances, he was beyond just comfortable, and if one can ignore the bars on the windows, you might even say he was pampered. Working on the OED helped him focus his mind and probably kept him from spiralling deeper into his own misconceptions.
Neither Murray nor Minor lived long enough to see the job done, but without their Herculean efforts the whole idea may have been relegated to another generation or maybe never completed at all.
As Murray became more and more famous, he became more and more uncomfortable with the attention. Murray and Minor both found that task in compiling the English language.
Winchester does a wonderful job of conveying the absurdity and the wonderfulness of these two men finding so much in common, despite one existing in the hallowed halls of academia and the other existing in the bedlam of an asylum. Murray received more than 10, contributions from Minor over several years and for most of this time beUeved him to be a country doctor with a love of reading.
Little did he know that Minor was in fact a condemned murderer and paranoiac sentenced to life imprisonment.
Winchester narrates the histories of both men, their eventual meeting upon Murray's investigation of Minor's absence from an OED dinner honoring contributors, and the friendship that survived the unveiling of Minor's criminal past. One of the most skillful facets of the book is the way these two men, each following vastly different paths, are shown to have been linked not only through the compilation of the OED but also through affinities in their personaUties.
Minor, a violent character renowned for excesses with drink and women, and Murray, a slightly pedantic , well-educated family man, would seem like complete opposites.
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The logistics of recording quotations that scholars such as Minor sent in are mind-boggling.A sickly smell of yeast and hops lay over the town, wafting from the chimneys of the great Red Lion Brewery, which stood on Belvedere Road, just north of the Hungerford Bridge. I do think back to those halcyon days when she had left for work, and it was just me, the OED, and the Fitzgeralds. No Downloads.
Murray bowed gravely, and launched into the brief speech of greeting that he had so long rehearsed:. It makes for a compelling read, combining the best practices of history and journalism into one package. Unfortunately, it is just a pretty way of saying he is incarcerated in an asylum for the criminally insane.
As he passed the entrance to Tennison Street, between where the south side of the Lambeth Lead Works abutted onto the north wall of the brewery, there came a sudden cry.
He was a stoker at the Red Lion Brewery; he had been there for the previous eight years, employed all the time as one of the gang who kept the fires burning through the day and night, keeping the vats bubbling and the barley malting. Winchester narrates the histories of both men, their eventual meeting upon Murray's investigation of Minor's absence from an OED dinner honoring contributors, and the friendship that survived the unveiling of Minor's criminal past.