[ PW Home ] [ Bestsellers ] [ Subscribe ] [ Search ]

Publishers Weekly News

Bonded By Words
Paul Nathan -- 11/24/97
Little-known fact: the research behind the Oxford English Dictionary was carried out by volunteers, perusing countless books for words that had never appeared before or had undergone changes in usage or meaning. Another little-known fact: the major researcher was an American confined in the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum for 38 years as a murderer.
Equally strange, the prisoner, William Minor, and the D's editor, Dr. James Murray, developed a 30-year friendship that eventually led the latter to engineer Minor's release so he could live out his last days on native soil.

This story, with its roots in our Civil War where young Minor, a doctor, suffered severe mental trauma, is the basis of a book being written by Simon Winchester for HarperCollins. On the basis of a brief synopsis titled The Professor and the Madman, Luc Besson, director of La Femme Nikita, The Professional and other films, has preempted movie rights through Jody Hotchkiss, negotiating on behalf of his colleague Peter Matson, Winchester's agent, at Sterling Lord Literistic. Agnes Krup, an independent agent specializing in foreign rights, has sold the forthcoming book, under the title The Surgeon of Crowthorne, in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Holland and Japan.
Back To News
Search | Bestsellers | News | Features | Children's Books | Bookselling
Interview | Industry Update | International | Classifieds | Authors On the Highway
About PW | Subscribe
Copyright 2000. Publishers Weekly. All rights reserved.