The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (Paperback)
History, linguistics, biography, general interest - this is for anyone who loves knowledge and a crazy story. As the Oxford English Dictionary is being produced over 70 years, a madman (delusions, murder, manic depressive) sits painting in his cell in Bethlehem insane asylum. The tale is in the telling, but long story short this psychopath contributed 10,000 definitions to the OED!— From Abe
The Professor and the Madman, masterfully researched and eloquently written, is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary -- and literary history. The compilation of the OED began in 1857, it was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.
This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.