The Professor and the Madman

Posted by Masakim on December 18, 2003

In Reply to: The origins of the OED posted by James Briggs on December 18, 2003

: For those of you who can receive the channel, there appears to be a remarkable documentary on BBC TV this evening. For those, and those who can't see it, the preview of the programme in today's Times reads:

: BBC One, 10.35pm; N.lreland, 11.15pm
: The remarkable story of the Oxford English Dictionary, which took 70 years to complete and included more than 400,000 definitions.
: At the centre of this was the relationship between two men: the editor, Professor James Murray, and William Chester Minor, an American surgeon. For 20 years, Minor sent thousands of contributions from a village only 50 miles from Oxford. On many occasions, Murray invited him to visit Oxford, but his offers were always turned down. Murray finally found out that Minor was a murderer, incarcerated in Broadmoor. (A hospital for the 'criminally insane' - JB).

See _The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary_ by Simon Winchester.