What are the themes in The Professor and The Madman by Simon Winchester?

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The Professor and The Madman by Simon Winchester was originally published under the title The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Love of Words in 1998, in England, and was retitled when released in the United States. A film was made of the book under the title The Professor and The Madman. The work described the interactions between the madman of the title, Dr. William C. Minor (a doctor incarcerated in a hospital for the criminally insane), and the scholar in charge of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary: James Augustus Henry Murray.

The first major theme of the work is the nature of madness. While Minor was clearly delusional and paranoid, with bizarre sexual and persecution fantasies (which led to his murdering an innocent person), he nonetheless was a careful, balanced, and objective researcher. This suggests that "madness" is not some overarching category that makes all aspects of someone's thought unreliable—just because Minor is considered "mad," this...

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