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. Where did Richard Chenevix Trench speak?

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

3. What climate is the island of Ceylon?

4. When was Murray born?

5. What two words does the author use to describe the Lambeth area, particularly in relation to the undrained marsh?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. In what way was Trench's appeal to the masses who would be needed to help compile the Oxford English Dictionary democratic?

3. Many critics found the Oxford English Dictionary to be racist and sexist. Explain how the author suggests this may have happened.

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

5. What is the effect of the author's choice to define the word "murder" on the audience?

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

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

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

9. 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?

10. Why does the author suggest that Minor moved from his initial area of residence in London, St James Square, to Lambeth Marsh?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The author opens the book with the dictionary entry for the word "murder." Discuss the reasons why he might have done this with reference to the people mentioned in the book, the book's central subject of The Oxford English Dictionary, and the author's own interests.

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

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

(see the answer keys)

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