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L'assassino più colto del mondo. Una storia di follia e amore per i libri… (1998)

di Simon Winchester

Altri autori: Vedi la sezione altri autori.

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
11,195281509 (3.8)451
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.… (altro)
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» Vedi le 451 citazioni

In the nineteenth century, two distinguished clever men become friends. But they come from very different backgrounds, one is a brilliant academic, the other is a madman and murderer. In spite of this they work together on one of the greatest works in the English language. An intriguing tale about the compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary.
  AlbertLeonhardGieg | Nov 23, 2022 |
The book details the extraordinary effort and detail that went into the creation of the OED. The system of accepting volunteer words from all over the world is a credit to Dr Murry and his staff. A major contributor Dr Murray a brittiant military surgeon also being a crimally insane murderer and confined to Broadmore Insane Istitution was prolific in producing words and their meaning.
Imagine Shakespeare didn't have a Dictionary to refer for word meanings.
The first meeting after 20 years of contributing between the 2 Drs is interesting.
Did the casualties Dr minor see in the war bring on his problem who knows but there was minimal understanding or treatment of his condition. ( )
  BryceV | Nov 8, 2022 |
A well developed and well told story with plenty of interesting insights. Could have been shorter, but for all the length, I wasn't bored. ( )
  jsmick | Oct 31, 2022 |
Who knew a book about the assembling of a dictionary could be so fascinating? This book provides biographies of two men who played key roles in the compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), Professor James Murray, the chief editor, and Dr. W.C. Minor, the “madman” of the title. It also covers the process used in the monumental task of assembling the OED, which comprised “twelve mighty volumes; 414,825 words defined; 1,827,306 illustrative quotations” and took over 70 years.

The book hinges on the intriguing, but tragic, life of Dr. Minor, whose insanity had led to murder. I found myself pondering the nature of mental illnesses, and how far we still must go to truly understand and treat them. I thought Winchester did an excellent job of weaving the history of dictionaries together with the biographies to deliver an engrossing story. My only quibbles were that the author took quite a few liberties in surmising what people were feeling and twice included a sensational, but admittedly false, vignette.

The book was filled with intriguing observations. For example, I had never previously considered what it would have been like not to have access to a dictionary, but the author points out that William Shakespeare did not. How remarkable that he could create such works without one!

Recommended to those who love words, the history of words, books about books, and biographies.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
[Herbert Coleridge] died after only two years at work, at the age of thirty-one, not even halfway through looking at the quotations of words beginning with A. He had been caught in the rain on the way to a Philological Society lecture, and he had sat through it in the unheated upstairs room on St. James's Square, caught a chill, and died. His last recorded words were: "I must begin Sanskrit tomorrow."

Now that's my kind of stiff upper lip. Herbert Coleridge is my spirit nineteenth-century-British-philologist. ( )
  zinama | Sep 22, 2022 |
Here, as so consistently throughout, Winchester finds exactly the right tool to frame the scene.
aggiunto da John_Vaughan | modificaPowells, Dave Weich (Oct 1, 2001)
 

» Aggiungi altri autori (22 potenziali)

Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Winchester, Simonautore primariotutte le edizioniconfermato
Hood, PhilipIllustratoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Out, PeterTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Pracher, RickProgetto della copertinaautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
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[Preface Popular myth has it that one of the most remarkable conversations in modern literary history took place on a cool and misty late autumn in 1896, in the small village of Crowthorne in the county of Berkshire.
The word (murder) has not been found in any Teut. lang. but Eng. and Gothic, but that it existed in continental WGer. is evident, as it is the source of OF. murdre, murtre (md. F. meurtre) and of med. L. mordrum, murdrum, and OHG.
[Postscript] And why this book is offered as a small testament to the late George Merrett of Wiltshire and Lambeth, without whose untimely death these events would never have unfolded and this tale could never have been told.
[Author's Note] But she won, and a grandfather I never met made a thousand guineas, all because of a word that briefly took his fancy.
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One word --and only one word-- was ever actually lost: bondmaid, which appears in Johnson's dictionary, was actually lost by Murray and was found, a stray without a home, long after the fascicle Battentlie - Bozzom had been published. It, and tens of thousands of words that had evolved or appeared during the forty-four years spent assembling the fascicles and their [twelve] parent volumes, appeared in a supplement, which came out in 1933. Four further supplements appeared between 1972 and 1986. In 1989, using the new abilities of the computer, Oxford University Press issued its fully integrated second edition, incorporating all the changes and additions of the supplements in twenty rather more slender volumes. [220]
Defining words properly is a fine and peculiar craft. There are rules—a word (to take a noun as an example) must first be defined according to the class of things to which it belongs (mammal, quadruped), and then differentiated from other members of that class (bovine, female). There must be no words in the definition that are more complicated or less likely to be known than the word being defined. The definition must say what something is, and not what it is not. If there is a range of meanings of any one word—cow having a broad range of meanings, cower having essentially only one—then they must be stated. And all the words in the definition must be found elsewhere in the dictionary—a reader must never happen upon a word in the dictionary that he or she cannot discover elsewhere in it. If the definer contrives to follow all these rules, stirs into the mix an ever-pressing need for concision and elegance—and if he or she is true to the task, a proper definition will probably result.
He would index and collect and collate words and sentences from each of the books, until his prison desk was heavy with the quires of paper, each one containing a master-list of the indexed words from his eclectic, very valuable and much valued little gem of a library.... He had made a key, a Victorian word-Rolodex, a dictionary-within-a-dictionary, and instantly available.
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(Click per vedere. Attenzione: può contenere anticipazioni.)
(Click per vedere. Attenzione: può contenere anticipazioni.)
(Click per vedere. Attenzione: può contenere anticipazioni.)
(Click per vedere. Attenzione: può contenere anticipazioni.)
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UK title: The Surgeon of Crowthorne
US title: The Professor and the Madman
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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.

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Penguin Australia

2 edizioni di questo libro sono state pubblicate da Penguin Australia.

Edizioni: 0140271287, 0141037717

 

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