Caught in the Web of Words : James Murray and the "Oxford English Dictionary", Paperback

Caught in the Web of Words : James Murray and the "Oxford English Dictionary" Paperback

Part of the Yale Nota Bene series

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


This unique and celebrated biography describes how a largely self-educated boy from a small village in Scotland entered the world of scholarship and became the first editor of the Oxford English Dictionary and a great lexicographer.

It also provides an absorbing account of how the dictionary was written, the personalities of the people working on it, and the endless difficulties that nearly led to the whole enterprise being abandoned. "It is a magnificent story of a magnificent man, one of the finest biographies of the twentieth century, as its subject was one of the finest human beings of the nineteenth."-Anthony Burgess "A moving and dramatic story ...sometimes tragic, often comic, ultimately triumphant."-Times (London) "A biography that possesses many of the virtues of James Murray himself-grace, humor, intelligence, curiosity, and scholarship."-Time "In her vivid biography, Murray's granddaughter brings his remarkable personality to life, and provides an unexpectedly fascinating account of the OED's long and difficult birth."-Times Literary Supplement "A gripping, engaging story; endearing, too. The daily round of a big Victorian family, with its jokes, games, and treasured seaside holidays, is entrancingly evoked."-Sunday Times (London)




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K.M.E. Murray has written here the most detailed biography of her grandfather and the OED. Extensive letters and photos of his life and work pervade the somewhat stilted prose. If you only own one lexicographical biography, this should be it.