Monday, May 24, 2010

The Professor and the Madman

The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester is a nonfiction story about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary.

This intriguing book features the lives of two word lovers, a British professor obsessed with the idea of fixing the English language in the first comprehensive dictionary, and an American, a former Army Captain and surgeon, who, while committed in a British prison for murder, ends up being one of the most important contributors to the Oxford English Dictionary.

While this book twines together several plot threads and stories, it does so like a novel, making it a very enjoyable read. I wished I had known this story when I studied Shakespeare as an undergrad and had to look up 10 different words in the OED every week.

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