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by Simon. Winchester

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8,728206348 (3.8)348
Authors:Simon. Winchester
Info:Viking (1998), Hardcover, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:bio, read 1998

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The Surgeon of Crowthorne : A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Love of Words by Simon Winchester (1998)


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English (198)  Indonesian (2)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All (205)
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
rabck from ReallyBookish, TLC book club read, alas not wonderful as touted. The story jumps a bit, trying to provide equal focus on the US Army surgeon, who's delusions caused him to commit murder and be commited to an asylum in the UK, from where he wrote thousands of entries for the OED. And the Professor James Murray, who winds up coordinating the task of the thousands involved in submitting definitions, quotations, pronunciations, etc that are making up this dictionary. ( )
  nancynova | Jan 1, 2017 |
I really wish Goodreads would let us give half-stars! Another 3.5 book for me. I never gave a moment's thought to how a dictionary is created. But it is really a fascinating topic. And both the professor and the madman were interesting, as well. I just couldn't stick with the writing though. Sometimes it was engrossing and sometimes I felt like the author got stuck and pulled out his thesaurus, which brought my reading progress to a halt. A friend pointed out some editing lapses, as well. So, I generally enjoyed the book and thought it was interesting. Maybe even a little nerdy? If you enjoy words and sometimes search for just the right one, and if you enjoy learning about a different subject, I definitely think you should give this book a try. If you are looking for the next big thriller and were attracted by the word "Madman" in the title, you should move along. ( )
  400mom | Nov 23, 2016 |
The evolution of the disctionary and the crazy guy who built it. Fascinating. ( )
  cookierooks | Nov 16, 2016 |
An entertaining, easy to read, fast paced, (non-fiction) tale of how W.C. Minor with schizophrenia (most likely) helped Sir Murray write large portions of the Oxford English Dictionary. Minor's story is sad, and sad all around, but at least out of his 'insane asylum' incarceration, and his mental disease and the unfortunate murder of George Merrett, a lot of good came out of it - in the sake of his extreme help in quote gathering and writing for the OED, without him it most likely wouldn't have gotten completed. Even still it took some 70-71 years for it to get accomplished. ( )
  BenKline | Aug 7, 2016 |
3.5 stars

This is the story of how the Oxford English Dictionary was put together. It is also part biography of the editor (the “professor” in the title) and the convicted murderer living in an insane aslyum, who was one of the most prolific people helping find quotations for the dictionary.

It was quite interesting to learn how early dictionaries were compiled. I guess I'd never really thought about how much work it took to take on such a task. Also, very interesting to learn about Minor, the man in the asylum. I didn't rate it higher because I was too easily distracted at some points while reading, so I did tend to skim a bit and miss a few things. At the same time, I did find other parts quite interesting. Overall, I'm rating it “good”. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jun 11, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
Here, as so consistently throughout, Winchester finds exactly the right tool to frame the scene.
added by John_Vaughan | editPowells, Dave Weich (Oct 1, 2001)

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Simon Winchesterprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pracher, RickCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Popular myth has it that one of the most remarkable conversations in modern literary history took place on a cool and misty late autumn in 1896, in the small village of Crowthorne in the county of Berkshire.
One word --and only one word-- was ever actually lost: bondmaid, which appears in Johnson's dictionary, was actually lost by Murray and was found, a stray without a home, long after the fascicle Battentlie - Bozzom had been published. It, and tens of thousands of words that had evolved or appeared during the forty-four years spent assembling the fascicles and their [twelve] parent volumes, appeared in a supplement, which came out in 1933. Four further supplements appeared between 1972 and 1986. In 1989, using the new abilities of the computer, Oxford University Press issued its fully integrated second edition, incorporating all the changes and additions of the supplements in twenty rather more slender volumes. [220]
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UK title: The Surgeon of Crowthorne
US title: The Professor and the Madman
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A wonderful story...It has all the ingredients of one of Patrick McGrath's icily stylish novels: madness, violence, arcane obsessions, weird learning, ghastly comedy - John Banville, Literary Review

Two distinguished-looking Victorians, both learned and serious, yet from very different worlds: one a brilliant polymath, the other a madman and a murderer.

Dr James Murray, erudite and pious, who broke free from an impoverished childhood to become a towering figure of British scholarship and editor of the great Oxford English Dictionary.

Dr W.C. Minor, lascivious, charismatic, a millionaire American Civil War surgeon and homicidal lunatic. Confined to Broadmoor Asylum he pursued his passion for words and became one of the OED's most valued contributors.

Their lives and unlikely friendship are unravelled in Simon Winchester's classic work of detection.

In this elegant book the writer has created a vivid parable, in the spirit of Nabakov and Borges - full of suspense, pathos and humour - Wall Street Journal

A jewel of a book, scholarly, beguiling and moving - as gripping as any thriller - Scotland on Sunday

A cracking read - Spectator
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060839783, Paperback)

The compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary, 70 years in the making, was an intellectually heroic feat with a twist worthy of the greatest mystery fiction: one of its most valuable contributors was a criminally insane American physician, locked up in an English asylum for murder. British stage actor Simon Jones leads us through this uncommon meeting of minds (the other belonging to self-educated dictionary editor James Murray) at full gallop. Ultimately, it's hard to say which is more remarkable: the facts of this amazingly well-researched story, or the sound of author Simon Winchester's erudite prose. Jones's reading smoothly transports listeners to the 19th century, reminding us why so many brilliant people obsessively set out to catalogue the English language. This unabridged version contains an interview between Winchester and John Simpson, editor of the Oxford dictionary. (Running time: 6.5 hours, 6 cassettes) --Lou Schuler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:04 -0400)

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Looks at the making of the Oxford English dictionary.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140271287, 0141037717

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