The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What climate is the island of Ceylon?
(a) Tropical.
(b) Koppen.
(c) Desert.
(d) Snowy.

2. On what notable holiday did the making of the Oxford English Dictionary begin?
(a) May Day.
(b) The Queen's Birthday.
(c) Guy Fawke's Day.
(d) Christmas Day.

3. At what age was William sent to the United States?
(a) Nine.
(b) Fourteen.
(c) Twelve.
(d) Twenty-two.

4. Who produced a circular calling for volunteers who could choose a period of history in which they would like to read books?
(a) Trench.
(b) Furnivall.
(c) Minor.
(d) Murray.

5. What was the name of Murray's first wife?
(a) Julia Filmoore.
(b) Lucy Javier.
(c) Eliza Valant.
(d) Maggie Scott.

Short Answer Questions

1. For what purpose was Murray asked to go to Oxford?

2. In what city was Murray born?

3. In what year was the Oxford English Dictionary completed?

4. How did Mr. Trench define the importance of the English language insofar as Christianity?

5. How did Murray spend most of his childhood?

Short Essay Questions

1. What can be appreciated about the Oxford English Dictionary being called "The Big Dictionary"?

2. What seemed uncanny about the killer's cool, calm demeanor?

3. What effect could it have had on logophiles to learn that Samuel Johnson had imposed limits on the history of the definitions of words in his dictionary?

4. What reason(s) does the author give for Minor's parents sending him to the US to live with his uncle?

5. Did the "Battle of the Wilderness" push Minor past his mental capacities to function normally in social settings or public? If so, how does the author make this clear?

6. Some critics say that Samuel Johnson put too much of his personality into his work on his dictionary. How would it be possible to avoid this type of criticism?

7. Why does the author take time to note the sheer volume of words and weight of the Oxford English Dictionary? What parallels can be drawn between this and the dictionary's makers?

8. What aspects of his upbringing could have contributed to Minor's issues with the tempestuous and tempting country of Ceylon?

9. According to the author, "The quotes would show how words had been used over centuries and explained when they had changed. The project was commissioned in the 1850s but was not profitable, yet many believe the OED is valuable far beyond its price." Why might people believe it is valuable far beyond its price?

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

(see the answer keys)

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