Hailed by the "New York Times" as "a fascinating, spicy, learned tale, " this runaway national bestseller takes an extraordinary look into literary genius, madness, and the making of the"Oxford English Dictionary."Hailed by the "New York Times" as "a fascinating, spicy, learned tale, " this runaway national bestseller takes an extraordinary look into literary genius, madness, and the making of the"Oxford English Dictionary."Read Less
Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 272 p. Contains: Illustrations.
Good. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 272 p. Contains: Illustrations.
Fair. A readable copy of the book which may include some defects such as highlighting and notes. Cover and pages may be creased and show discolouration. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 272 p. Contains: Illustrations.
What an interesting book, one filled with eccentric but useful people. I will now see the OED in quite another light.
Sep 16, 2010
The American edition of "The Surgeon of Crowthorne" is a fascinating story as well as an excellent read. The subject has been superbly researched - as is a hallmark of any Simon Winchester book - and is all the more worthy because it's not a subject that gets much attention by the general reader. The two central characters are so well drawn that it makes for an absorbing read. The only minor quibble is that some of the side stories meander to the point of distraction.
Aug 20, 2007
Normalcy and Madness
Simon Winchester's The Professor and the Madman is a model of nonfiction, fascinating, intelligent, and elegantly written, telling the utterly compelling story of Prof. Murray, the editor of the first Oxford English Dictionary, and his friendship with Captain Minor, who was committed to an insane asylum for murder and became one of the most prolific volunteer contributors to the peerless text. It's about a mad life partly redeemed by scholarship. The book also raises serious questions about the lines between normalcy and madness, and the peculiarities of a mind at once so ill and delusional, yet so rigorous. The reader is also given devastating glimpses of the Victorian Lambeth slums, Minor's adolescent lusts in Ceylon, his horrible self-castration, and his increasingly debilitating "monomania" in old age. In contrast, Murray's "character" is overshadowed, but he seems a model of decorum and consideration in his treatment of Minor. But perhaps most astonishing of all is the 70-year heroic undertaking to complete the OED itself. An altogether absorbing read.
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