|Plot Summary of The Professor and the Madman|
|"The Professor and the Madman is about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary. The book describes the process of contribution that helped make the dictionary possible. The major focuses of the story are James Murray and Dr. W.C. Minor. Murray (the professor) develops an interest in Minor because he has contributed more than ten thousand entries to the dictionary. The story and history take an odd twist when Murray discovers that Minor is currently residing at an asylum for the crimnally insane. "
Kristy Pastore, Resident Scholar
|""The Professor and the Madman" deals with the lives of two men who came together through their work on the Oxford English Dictionary: James Murray, the professor, who was the first editor of the dictionary, and Dr. William Chester Minor, the madman, who was a contributor of material.
Winchester describes how James Murray chose to use lay readers to help compile the information for the dictionary based on their reading. They would search out words and send him slips with the lexicographical information on them. He would compose the entries based on that information. One of the readers who contributed nearly 10,000 words to the project was Dr. William Chester Minor. Murray never had any contact with him except through the mail. Then, in 1896, he set out to meet his contributor and discovered that he was an insane murderer imprisoned in Broadmoor, an asylum.
Winchester spends a large part of the book describing the details of Minot's murder of a man on his way home from work, his earlier life in America where he worked as a doctor during the Civil War, as well as his work on the dictionary. Winchester's book is primarily concerned with describing the unusual relationship between two such different men.
Jack Goodstein, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of The Professor and the Madman|
Our unique search engine provides a wealth of detail about books by breaking them down into many different literary elements, all of which are searchable (click here).
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
- mental hospital
Life in an institution
Period of greatest activity?
Subject of Biography
- mentally ill
- emotionally unstable
Biography of famous person?
How sensitive is this person?
- middling sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor
- Mostly serious with occasional humor
- Very much smarter than other people
How much descriptions of surroundings?
- 2 ()
- 19th century
- mostly 3rd
Accounts of torture and death?
- generic/vague references to death/punishment
Writer's slant towards subject:
Story of entire life, or part?
- story of set of events during life
Is this a biography of several people?
If this is a kid's book:
- Age 16-Adult
- More 6-10 B&W
How much dialogue in bio?
- significantly more descript than dialog
- little dialog
How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?
- 51%-75% of book
Click here for more information about this book
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
Use our site!
17 FREE Sci-Fi Ebooks!
FREE "How to be happy" Ebook!
Most recent discussions:
General Book Talk
Book writing discussion
Off-topic message board
George W. Bush
Robert James Waller
Graham D. Watson
Joanna L. Stratton
Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer
General Discussion (All Topics)
More message boards