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The Professor and the Madman

A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

by Simon Winchester

The Professor and the Madman
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  • First Published:
    Jan 1998, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2005, 288 pages

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There are currently 13 reader reviews for The Professor and the Madman
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Brian (07/14/03)

The Professor and the Madman is the well written, yet slanted telling of the history of the Oxford English Dictionary. Using Mr. Minor's oscillation between the anal quest for literary perfection and paranoid delusion, the author uses excellent vocabulary and syntax to discuss the development of the greatest chronicle of the English language. A must read for any student of philology
Kate (10/31/02)

I am an avid reader and a late night person, however, i still found that large portions of this book put me to sleep. I found the description to be repititious, and i was jerked around from the lack of organization. I find that the language and style of this piece indicate that the author was trying to make this a display of talent he did not have. The gusts of wind he used to push his boat along are frivilous because they meet a sail full of holes. However I applaud him for his interesting topic and commendable research.
E.E.C. (09/04/02)

I found the book very slow and boring in many places. It was only in the sections involving Dr. Minor's actual insanity and madness that I became somewhat interested. Overall, it was a great sleeping pill.
Kim (07/29/02)

I enjoyed the book but found it to be a little "slow" at times. I read all English history I can find, no matter what the topic, and was excited to find this book. However, I personally would have enjoyed more information about the interaction between Minor and Murray, Minor's day to day life, more about his regression into madness. Perhaps little is known about these items, but I found myself wanting more after I finished the book.
Anonymous (08/12/01)

John Sinclair
The Professor and the Madman is one of the few books I have read virtually nonstop. I became so engrossed in the story line, I literally carried the book around with me until I had read it. Does Simon Winchester have an email address? I would like to congratulate him.
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