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

2. Merrett's killer was from ______________.
(a) Portland, Maine.
(b) Seattle, Washington.
(c) New Haven, Connecticut.
(d) New York, New York.

3. How many men authored A Dictionary of the English Language?
(a) Five men.
(b) Nine men.
(c) Fourteen men.
(d) Six men.

4. At what time where the three shots fired in the opening of the book?
(a) 5 a.m.
(b) Midnight.
(c) 1 a.m.
(d) 2 a.m.

5. What did Merrett's killer claim about the murder?
(a) It was easy.
(b) He was too drunk to know what was happening.
(c) He had been waiting to do that for some time.
(d) It was in self defense.

Short Answer Questions

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

2. In what city was Murray born?

3. When was the project to create the first Oxford English Dictionary commissioned?

4. Where were George Merrett and his wife originally from?

5. When was Murray born?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

2. What does the title of the book imply to prospective readers?

3. What effect could the tragic death of his daughter have had on Murray's diligence in working on the Oxford English Dictionary?

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

5. Why might the author have defined the word "protagonist" in such depth?

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

7. 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?

8. 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?

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

10. 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?

(see the answer keys)

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