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The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

Hidden within the rituals of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary is a fascinating mystery. Professor James Murray was the distinguished editor of the OED project. Dr. William Chester Minor, an American surgeon who had served in the Civil War, was one of the most prolific contributors to the dictionary, sending thousands of neat, hand-written quotations from his home. After numerous refusals from Minor to visit his home in Oxford, Murray set out to find him. It was then that Murray would finally learn the truth about Minor – that, in addition to being a masterly wordsmith, he was also an insane murderer locked up in Broadmoor, an English asylum for criminal lunatics. The Professor and the Madman is the unforgettable story of the madness and genius that contributed to one of the greatest literary achievements in the history of English letters.

Chapter 1. The Dead of Night in Lambeth Marsh

Chapter 2. The Man Who Taught Latin to Cattle

Chapter 3. The Madness of War

Chapter 4. Gathering Earth’s Daughters

Chapter 5. The Big Dictionary Conceived

Chapter 6. The Scholar in Cell Block Two

Chapter 7. Entering the Lists

Chapter 8. Annulated, Art, Brick-Tea, Buckwheat

Chapter 9. The Meeting of Minds

Chapter 10. The Unkindest Cut

Chapter 11. Then Only the Monuments

Postscript