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

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 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Who arrested Merrett's killer?

2. To whom were Richard Chenevix Trench's speeches directed?

3. Who produced a circular calling for volunteers who could choose a period of history in which they would like to read books?

4. Where was Dr. Minor's house located in London?

5. Where did Richard Chenevix Trench speak?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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?

3. 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?

4. In what way was Furnivall's call to ask participants to choose a time period for the book a very intelligent idea to spur the makings of the Oxford English Dictionary onward?

5. 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?

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

7. 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?

8. 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?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Despite the fact that this a work of non-fiction, there are elements of foreshadowing in the way the author tells the story. Explain how this occurs and discuss their effect.

Essay Topic 2

Explore the ways in which religious faith plays an important role in the production of The Oxford English Dictionary, with particular reference to Charles Minor and James Murray.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the author's use of symbolism in the text. Give examples.

(see the answer keys)

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