The Surgeon of Crowthorne

A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Oxford English Dictionary

The Surgeon of Crowthorne

The making of the Oxford English Dictionary was a monumental 50 year task requiring thousands of volunteers. One of the keenest volunteers was a W C Minor who astonished everyone by refusing to come to Oxford to receive his congratulations. In the end, James Murray, the OED's editor, went to Crowthorne in Berkshire to meet him. What he found was incredible - Minor was a millionaire American civil war surgeon turned lunatic, imprisoned in Broadmoor Asylum for murder and yet who dedicated his entire cell-bound life to work on the English language.

The Surgeon of Crowthorne

The Surgeon of Crowthorne

An extraordinary, true story. Dr James Murray was a quiet family man. He worked at Oxford University in the 1800s. Dr William Minor was a madman and a murderer. He lived in Broadmoor, a hospital and a prison. Together these two men worked on the Oxford English Dictionary, on of the most important works in the English language.

The Meaning of Everything

The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary

The Meaning of Everything

Now available in paperback, The Meaning of Everything is the absorbing story behind the making of the Oxford English Dictionary. Originally mooted in 1857, it would be another 71 years before the British prime minister could celebrate the completion of 'the greatest enterprise of its kind in history'. In this delightful account of the OED's creation, Winchester introduces us to a host of extraordinary characters: the murderer who contributed from his prison cell, the brilliant but tubercular first editor Herbert Coleridge (grandson of the poet), the boisterous Frederick Furnivall (who left the project in shambles) and James Murray, the self-taught draper's son who spent a half-century bringing the project to triumphant fruition. The Meaning of Everything is a scintillating and engaging account of the creation of the greatest monument ever erected to a living language.

The Meaning of Everything

The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary

The Meaning of Everything

'The greatest enterprise of its kind in history,' was the verdict of British prime minister Stanley Baldwin in June 1928 when The Oxford English Dictionary was finally published. With its 15,490 pages and nearly two million quotations, it was indeed a monumental achievement, gleaned from the efforts of hundreds of ordinary and extraordinary people who made it their mission to catalogue the English language in its entirety. In The Meaning of Everything, Simon Winchester celebrates this remarkable feat, and the fascinating characters who played such a vital part in its execution, from the colourful Frederick Furnivall, cheerful promoter of an all-female sculling crew, to James Murray, self-educated son of a draper, who spent half a century guiding the project towards fruition. Along the way we learn which dictionary editor became the inspiration for Kenneth Grahame's Ratty in The Wind in the Willows, and why Tolkien found it so hard to define 'walrus'. Written by the bestselling author of The Surgeon of Crowthorne and The Map That Changed the World, The Meaning of Everything is an enthralling account of the creation of the world's greatest dictionary.

Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art

The Analytic Tradition, An Anthology

Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art

For over fifty years, philosophers working within the broader remit of analytic philosophy have developed and refined a substantial body of work in aesthetics and the philosophy of art, curating a core foundation of scholarship which offers rigor and clarity on matters of profound and perennial interest relating to art and all forms of aesthetic appreciation. Now in its second edition and thoroughly revised, Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art—The Analytic Tradition: An Anthology captures this legacy in a comprehensive introduction to the core philosophical questions and conversations in aesthetics. Through 57 key essays selected by leading scholars Peter Lamarque and Stein Haugom Olsen, this anthology collects modern classics as well as new contributions on essential topics such as the identification and ontology of art, interpretation, values of art, art and knowledge, and fiction and the imagination. New to this edition are selections which treat aesthetic experience more widely, including essays on the aesthetics of nature and aesthetics in everyday life. Other carefully-chosen pieces analyze the practice and experience of specific art forms in greater detail, including painting, photography, film, literature, music, and popular art such as comics. This bestselling collection is an essential resource for students and scholars of aesthetics, designed to foster a foundational understanding of both long-standing and contemporary topics in the field.

The Professor and the Madman

A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary

The Professor and the Madman

Mysterious (mistîe · ries), a. [f. L. mystérium Mysteryi + ous. Cf. F. mystérieux.] 1. Full of or fraught with mystery; wrapt in mystery; hidden from human knowledge or understanding; impossible or difficult to explain, solve, or discover; of obscure origin, nature, or purpose. It is known as one of the greatest literary achievements in the history of English letters. The creation of the Oxford English Dictionary began in 1857, took seventy years to complete, drew from tens of thousands of brilliant minds, and organized the sprawling language into 414,825 precise definitions. But hidden within the rituals of its creation is a fascinating and mysterious story--a story of two remarkable men whose strange twenty-year relationship lies at the core of this historic undertaking. Professor James Murray, an astonishingly learned former schoolmaster and bank clerk, was the distinguished editor of the OED project. Dr. William Chester Minor, an American surgeon from New Haven, Connecticut, who had served in the Civil War, was one of thousands of contributors who submitted illustrative quotations of words to be used in the dictionary. But Minor was no ordinary contributor. He was remarkably prolific, sending thousands of neat, handwritten quotations from his home in the small village of Crowthorne, fifty miles from Oxford. On numerous occasions Murray invited Minor to visit Oxford and celebrate his work, but Murray's offer was regularly--and mysteriously--refused. Thus the two men, for two decades, maintained a close relationship only through correspondence. Finally, in 1896, after Minor had sent nearly ten thousand definitions to the dictionary but had still never traveled from his home, a puzzled Murray set out to visit him. It was then that Murray finally learned the truth about Minor--that, in addition to being a masterful wordsmith, Minor was also a murderer, clinically insane--and locked up in Broadmoor, England's harshest asylum for criminal lunatics. The Professor and the Madman is an extraordinary tale of madness and genius, and the incredible obsessions of two men at the heart of the Oxford English Dictionary and literary history. With riveting insight and detail, Simon Winchester crafts a fascinating glimpse into one man's tortured mind and his contribution to another man's magnificent dictionary.

Stones of Empire

The Buildings of the Raj

Stones of Empire

The attitude of the British to India was compounded partly of arrogance, but partly also of homesickness, and it shows in their constructions. Georgian terraces were adapted to tropical conditions, Victorian railway stations were elaborately orientalised, and seaside villas were adjusted to suit Himalayan conditions. This book, now reissued with a new introduction by Simon Winchester, is the first to describe the whole range of British constructions in India. Stones of Empire charts an enterprise in architecture, engineering, and social adaptation unique in human history.

Korea

A Walk Through the Land of Miracles

Korea

Simon Winchester travelled through the republic of Korea on foot to write this informal portrait. Along the way he befriended a variety of honeymooners, abalone divers, corporate executives, Buddhist nuns, American servicemen and many other interesting people who helped to shape his impressions. The result is an engaging, informed, and often humourous distillation of the writer's observations on the culture, people, language, economy and politics of this rapidly changing country.

Eurekas and Euphorias

The Oxford Book of Scientific Anecdotes

Eurekas and Euphorias

The march of science has never proceeded smoothly. It has been marked through the years by episodes of drama and comedy, of failure as well as triumph, and by outrageous strokes of luck, deserved and undeserved, and sometimes by human tragedy. It has seen deep intellectual friendships, as well as ferocious animosities, and once in a while acts of theft and malice, deceit, and even a hoax or two. Scientists come in all shapes - the obsessive and the dilettantish, the genial, the envious, the preternaturally brilliant and the slow-witted who sometimes see further in the end, the open-minded and the intolerant, recluses and arrivistes. From the death of Archimedes at the hands of an irritated Roman soldier to the concoction of a superconducting witches' brew at the very close of the twentieth century, the stories in Eurekas and Euphorias pour out, told with wit and relish by Walter Gratzer. Open this book at random and you may chance on the clumsy chemist who breaks a thermometer in a reaction vat and finds mercury to be the catalyst that starts the modern dyestuff industry; or a famous physicist dissolving his gold Nobel Prize medal in acid to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Nazis, recovering it when the war ends; mathematicians and physicists diverting themselves in prison cells, and even in a madhouse, by creating startling advances in their subject. We witness the careers, sometimes tragic, sometimes carefree, of the great women mathematicians, from Hypatia of Alexandria to Sophie Germain in France and Sonia Kovalevskaya in Russia and Sweden, and then Marie Curie's relentless battle with the French Academy. Here, then, a glorious parade unfolds to delight the reader, with stories to astonish, to instruct, and most especially, to entertain.