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. To whom were Richard Chenevix Trench's speeches directed?
(a) Americans.
(b) The general public.
(c) The London Phililogical Society.
(d) Londoners.

2. In Chapter 5, what was the name of Mr. Trench's speech in regards to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary?
(a) "On Some Deficiencies in Our English Dictionaries."
(b) "On the Deficiency of Our New Dictionaries of the Era."
(c) "On the Need for a New English Dictionary."
(d) "On the Call for a New Dictionary."

3. Who killed Merrett?
(a) John Washington Wilcox.
(b) William Chester Minor.
(c) James Chester Minor.
(d) Chester James Wilcox.

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

5. In what year did the making of the Oxford English Dictionary begin?
(a) 1847.
(b) 1857.
(c) 1853.
(d) 1856.

Short Answer Questions

1. Which of the following is noted to have been a fact four hundred years earlier than Mr. Trench's speeches?

2. Who heard the three shots fired in the beginning of the book?

3. What climate is the island of Ceylon?

4. Merrett's killer was from ______________.

5. In Chapter 2, The Man Who Taught Latin to Cattle, who is introduced as the first protagonist?

Short Essay Questions

1. How did Minor's branding of a deserting Irish soldier become connected to his excessive guilt about his own perceived "wrongs"?

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

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

4. Why might Minor's father have fallen so easily in love with Judith?

5. The author says that Minor became unworried by his "lascivious thoughts" while at Yale. What is a possible explanation for this?

6. In what ways does the author state the compilation of the Dictionary of the English Language was different from the compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary?

7. What might the audience find unique about the killer's professional past?

8. 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?

9. Given the information that the reader gleans from the nature of the Philological Society, as well as people speaking in the London Library, what characteristics of the London Library in Minor's day show it to be different from a public library of this day and age?

10. Why does the author suggest Oxford finally conceded to the switch from Furnivall to Murray for the position of editor?

(see the answer keys)

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