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Download The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary (Unabridged), by Simon Winchester
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,098 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Simon Winchester Narrator: Simon Winchester Publisher: HarperAudio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Writing with marvelous brio, Simon Winchester first serves up a lightning history of the English language and pays homage to the great dictionary makers from Samuel Johnson to Noah Webster before turning his unmatched talent for storytelling to the making of the most venerable of dictionaries: The Oxford English Dictionary. Here the listener is presented with lively portraits of such key figures as the brilliant but sickly first editor Herbert Coleridge, the colorful, wildly eccentric Frederick Furnivall, and the incomparable James Augustus Henry Murray, who spent half a century as editor bringing the project to fruition. Winchester lovingly describes the minutiae of dictionary making, brings us to visit the unseemly corrugated iron shed that Murray grandly dubbed The Scriptorium, and introduces some of the legion of volunteers, from Fitzedward Hall, a bitter hermit obsessively devoted to the OED, to the murderous W. C. Minor, whose story is one of dangerous madness, ineluctable sadness, and ultimate redemption.

The Meaning of Everything is a scintillating account of the creation of the greatest monument erected to a living language.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Annette Abbott | 2/14/2014

    " Who knew a biography of a dictionary could be so funny and interesting?! I love Simon's books, but I must say that this is probably my favourite. Having worked for Cambridge University Press and Macmillan Publishers, I found all the references to the great English publishing houses delightful. Upon finishing this book, I found I wanted to know more about the OED editor, James Murray and, as a result, immediately placed an order for his biography (written by his granddaughter) "Caught in the Web of Words." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jimmie | 2/11/2014

    " Got my first dictionary when i was 16 years old. Been in love with words ever since. Fascinating story "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Maura | 2/6/2014

    " i find it simply mindboggling that they managed to put together something like the OED without the use of a computer. We're talking millions of slips of paper sorted in little cubbyholes. it's ridiculous -- and yet they did it. ok, so it took almost as long as it did for the Red Sox to win a World Series. but they did it. i find that fascinating, and thus i'm the perfect audience for this book. the author has a very engaging style, so something that could have been very dry actually turns out to be a good story. i give it a thumbs up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Libby | 2/5/2014

    " Simon Winchester never fails to both entertain and educate his readers. This volume is an exemplar of his style, taking a subject which might seem dull and dry, and making it compelling and amusing. If you are fascinated by words, the Oxford English Dictionary is the primo word feast. This book unfolds the unusual story behind the the world's most amazing collection of words in a clear and stylish fashion. It has academic slugfests, bizarre characters and story twists worthy of pulp fiction, all having taken place in the correct and mannered world of British academia. I really enjoyed this one and I think you will, too. "

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