The compiling of the Oxford English Dictionary was a monumental task. It took 50 years, even with the help of numerous contributors. Among the most prolific was William Chester Minor, who sent editor James Murray thousands of extracts.
On many occasions, Murray invited this mysterious correspondent to Oxford, but the invitation was always declined. Finally stirred by curiosity, Murray himself went to visit Minor. What he found was shocking: Minor lived in Broadmoor asylum. He was a millionaire, an expert on the English language, and a qualified surgeon, but he was imprisoned as a lunatic for murder.
©1998 Simon Winchester (P)2005 W. F. Howes Ltd