The Professor and the Madman

The Professor and the Madman

Audiobook CD - 1998
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When editors of the "Oxford English dictionary" put out a call during the late 19th century for "men of letters" to contribute entries, hundreds of responses came forth.
Publisher: New York : Harper Audio, p1998
ISBN: 9780060836269
Characteristics: 6 sound discs : digital ; 4 3/4 in
Alternative Title: Professor & the madman


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jwhite412 Dec 15, 2011

NON-FICTION: “masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness and genius, and the incredible obsessions of two ordinary men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary.” I have already recommended this book to two other readers. It is a rare thing for me to enjoy a non-fiction work. The book was entertaining, educational, and very readable. The main premise was fascinating to me – how do you define your language when there IS no dictionary? That there was a time when there WAS no dictionary, never occurred to me. When was it written? How was it created? How is a word defined and by whom? (What does a word mean? Who says?) The construction of the novel was brilliant: the interspersion of the Dickensonian tale of the murderous madman with the dry study of the wordsmiths who labored over the OED, and the way the author began the main chapters with a pertinent keyword and definition (ie: MURDER: noun. The most heinous kind of criminal homicide…)


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