The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary Short Essay - Answer Key

Simon Winchester
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 137 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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1. What does the title of the book imply to prospective readers?

Prospective readers might question how murder and insanity could possibly be related to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary, as the creation and publishing of these types of books are stereotypically regarded as boring endeavors.

2. What can be surmised about the author's intention by naming his first chapter, " The Dead of Night in Lambeth Marsh"?

Any readers who are familiar with England or London geographically may immediately realize just how unpopular and industrial this area remains. They may be surprised or interested that the story is set in a place far from where people with such mastery of the English language might live. This creates curiosity and the desire to read further.

3. What is the effect of the author's choice to define the word "murder" on the audience?

The author makes no bones to get right down to some of the most interesting and gory/gutsy moments that landed Minor in Broadmoor. The effect is of great interest and sudden intensity, unlike the feeling of opening a dictionary for the first time.

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