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 killed Merrett?

2. How did the audience react to the fact that hundreds of amateurs would be needed to take on such a project for a new dictionary?

3. In Chapter 5, what was the name of Mr. Trench's speech in regards to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary?

4. In what century did some Latin-English dictionaries began to appear?

5. What was the overall effect of the large amount of word donors on Furnivall and his dictionary volunteers?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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. 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?

5. In regards to Trench's speech, what did he view each word as having? What must be charted for each word?

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

7. How might the fact that the killer was of a learned professional background NOT have been surprising to readers?

8. 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?

9. For what reasons did Minor become the most famous contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How does the author show that The Oxford English Dictionary was a completely different undertaking than any of the dictionaries that had come before it? Illustrate your answer with examples from the text.

Essay Topic 2

"Structure is equally important to non-fictional works as it is to fictional works." Explore this idea with reference to the text.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the links the author draws between various vices such as sex, drugs, and alcohol and their influence on the events of the story.

(see the answer keys)

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