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. According to Chapter 5, which dictionary far surpassed all that came before it?

2. How does the author describe the words in the early English dictionaries in Chapter 4, Gathering Earth's Daughters?

3. Murray was born next to the border of _________.

4. How did the author describe the attitude of the killer caught for Merrett's death upon the killer's capture?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

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

3. 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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The title of the book and its chapter titles are somewhat surprising considering that this is a non-fiction book about the making of a famous dictionary. Why are the titles surprising? Discuss what effects the author may have aimed for in choosing these titles.

Essay Topic 2

Dramatic irony is in many ways a key element of the events of the text. Discuss with examples.

Essay Topic 3

Redemption and the overcoming of personal and professional obstacles are central to the text. Discuss.

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