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Download The Professor and the Madman Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Professor and the Madman Audiobook, by Simon Winchester
3.67 out of 53.67 out of 53.67 out of 53.67 out of 53.67 out of 5 3.67 (36 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Simon Winchester Narrator: Simon Jones Publisher: HarperAudio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 1999 ISBN:
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Hidden within the rituals of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary is a fascinating mystery. Professor James Murray was the distinguished editor of the OED project. Dr. William Chester Minor, an American surgeon who had served in the Civil War, was one of the most prolific contributors to the dictionary, sending thousands of neat, hand-written quotations from his home. After numerous refusals from Minor to visit his home in Oxford, Murray set out to find him. It was then that Murray would finally learn the truth about Minor - that, in addition to being a masterly wordsmith, he was also an insane murderer locked up in Broadmoor, England's harshest asylum for criminal lunatics. The Professor and the Madman is the unforgettable story of the madness and genius that contributed to one of the greatest literary achievements in the history of English letters. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adrienne Fisher | 2/5/2014

    " The style is just a bit stiff, but this is one of those wonderful off-the-beaten-track books (that's gotten unusually popular for a book like this)about another untold story that should be taught in schools =). Pretty fascinating stuff - though if you love books like this and have never read him before, Paul Collins has a much looser, more conversational style - the man can make ANYthing interesting. The material of this one is gripping, but the style held it back a bit. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cheryl | 2/1/2014

    " Who knew that the writing of a dictionary could prove to be such a fascinating subject? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rob | 1/30/2014

    " The title is way overblown, and the complexity of the OED's creation and ongoing growth is oversimplified, but reference librarians of a certain age, as well as those who love the Victorian period, will enjoy this very much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tommy | 1/27/2014

    " Interesting, if a little all-over-the-place, Winchester's book requires tangents in order to pad out its main story of how a Civil War surgeon went crazy, murdered someone in London, and wound up contributing a great deal to the Oxford English Dictionary from his two-room suite at an asylum. There is a lot of great trivia in here, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karla Munson | 1/25/2014

    " Enjoyed this book very much. Fascinating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tasha | 1/13/2014

    " Very interesting! I was drawn in from the first chapter. I had no idea there was so much history behind the making of the dictionary. I like how the story was told as well as the story itself. Excellent! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shaughnarioux | 1/7/2014

    " I confess at the start that I love just "getting lost" in the OED, so I was already intrigued going in, but the story of how it got off the ground --"wikipedia" style-- and the amount of painstaking effort that it pulled together makes it a fascinating read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 MissusT | 12/16/2013

    " Realllly interesting read. Amazing to think about really. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Margot Jennifer | 10/28/2013

    " Um, no. However it gets two stars due to the fact that I learned something from it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clark | 10/15/2013

    " I was going to put the OED's definition of fun as my review for this book, but the OED isn't free online so I couldn't look it up to copy and paste. In any case, that's what this book is. I read it behind the register at a shitty job and then quit when I finished it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sue Gannon | 10/10/2013

    " This book reads like a novel. I was expecting a dry, historical account but instead I was drawn into the personal stories of the primary characters. Well worth the read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lara Eakins | 10/6/2013

    " An odd tale to be sure. I've always been a big fan of the OED and it's come in helpful more times that I can count, and now I think I appreciate it even a bit more now that I know the story behind it. I'd like to go see some of the remaining submission slips, etc. that are on display at Oxford! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 9/23/2013

    " Truth really is stranger than fiction! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tripmastermonkey | 9/5/2013

    " This was a fun book- good for a diversion from more serious reading. The conclusion was not tight at all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lana | 7/26/2013

    " Very interesting true story of the making of The OED. Quick read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Franz | 5/11/2013

    " Pretty good book but a little boring... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Seán O'Hara | 4/1/2013

    " A fascinating read for those interested in the English language, history, and the nuisances of human mind. I could not put it down. Not for the faint of heart as there is a fair amount of darkness to this work, but I do recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marcy Skala | 3/14/2013

    " Fast read. Really enjoyable. Seems odd that Winchester included so little about the other madman contributor (the hermit) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carl Wescott | 1/25/2013

    " Well-written book about a fascinating subject. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aileen | 12/22/2012

    " I enjoyed reading this book and was inspired by some of the vocabulary in it. It wasn't as dramatic as it first appeared, instead just told of dedication and hard work to achieve an end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kimberly | 12/5/2012

    " Easy read, learned about the Oxford English dictionary in a painless way "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fiona Mclaughlin | 7/28/2012

    " Just started reading this yesterday. I'm getting caught up in the definitions that preface each chapter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 3/21/2012

    " Fantastic book about the OED. I highly recommend! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn | 9/4/2011

    " Totally enthralling! I have used the OED for years but had no idea what had gone into its creation. Immensely interesting on several levels. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anna | 5/19/2011

    " Who knew that a book about the creation of a dictionary could be so fascinating? I could not put this book down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 5/16/2011

    " A bittersweets story of how a paranoid schizophrenic, convicted of murder and condemned to an insane asylum, finds solace by taking part in the greatest English literary achievement to date. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Libby | 5/13/2011

    " What a great book! I had forgotten all about it I read it so long ago. Must go find and reread! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Deepti | 5/12/2011

    " Nice weaving of history, facts, and fiction all in one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 5/8/2011

    " A truly weird tale about the making of the Oxford Dictionary. I enjoyed it immensely. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marissa | 5/8/2011

    " "He was mad, and for that, we have reason to be glad." Unless you're the wife or one of the 7 children of the man he killed that is. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melissa | 5/7/2011

    " The book was an interesting story, but I found it quite boring. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/6/2011

    " The parts that were really amazing had to compete with the parts that were simply pretentious. Pity. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Miriam | 5/3/2011

    " Couldn't get through it. So boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diah | 4/28/2011

    " I'm a lingo junkie so I really liked this book. Lotsof interesting detail, simply superb :) "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Leah | 4/28/2011

    " The book was exceedingly hard to get into and and abnormally slow. It was not as informative as one might think. I would no recommended this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 4/24/2011

    " Read this book a second time after reading it the first time in 2004. A good book that gives you a deep appreciation of the work and effort that went into the making of the OED. "

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About the Author
Author Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author of many books, including The Professor and the Madman, The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge of the World, and Krakatoa—all of which were New York Times bestsellers and appeared on numerous best and notable lists. In 2006 Winchester was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire by her Majesty the Queen. He lives in Manhattan and in western Massachusetts.

About the Narrator

Simon Jones is an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning narrator. He has appeared in the films The Devil’s Own, Twelve Monkeys, For Love or Money, Green Card, Brazil, Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, and Miracle on 34th Street. His television appearances include a role in The Cosby Mysteries and Murder She Wrote, and he has been featured in nine Broadway productions.