Harper - 2005
I cringed a bit when I learned what our book group selection for September was. Clearly, it seemed like a book that I would have little interest in especially considering the shelves and shelves of little gems I need to read from my shelves. However, I gave it a shot, but, in the end it was just not for me.
(Description from Amazon Website)
Hidden within the rituals of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary is a fascinating mystery. Professor James Murray was the distinguished editor of the OED project. Dr. William Chester Minor, an American surgeon who had served in the Civil War, was one of the most prolific contributors to the dictionary, sending thousands of neat, hand-written quotations from his home. After numerous refusals from Minor to visit his home in Oxford, Murray set out to find him. It was then that Murray would finally learn the truth about Minor – that, in addition to being a masterly wordsmith, he was also an insane murderer locked up in Broadmoor, an English asylum for criminal lunatics. The Professor and the Madman is the unforgettable story of the madness and genius that contributed to one of the greatest literary achievements in the history of English letters.
Here's what are group thought of the book.
- Only (9) people showed up to discuss this book, normally we have about 15.
- Only (3) people enjoyed it; one of the 3 was fascinated and stated she has a new fascination with word origins
- Those of us who did not care for the book gave the following reasons ----
- Not enough time spent on the actual compilation of the dictionary which took some 70 years to complete
- Writing was too simplistic and repetitive
- For a non fiction work, the author often seemed to know what others were thinking
- Would have been nice to see references for things represented as fact
- No footnotes
- Seemed embellished and sensationalized
Have you read this one? If so what did you think?