The Man Who Made Lists

The Man Who Made Lists

Love, Death, Madness, and the Creation of Roget's Thesaurus

Book - 2008
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The extraordinary true story of Peter Mark Roget and his legendary Thesaurus, Peter Mark Roget-polymath, eccentric, synonym aficionado-was a complicated man. He was an eminent scholar who absorbed himself in his work, yet he also possessed an allure that endeared him to his mentors and colleagues-not to mention a host of female admirers. But, most notably, Roget made lists. From the age of eight, he kept these lists with the intention of ordering the chaotic world around him. After his father's death, his mother became, at once, overbearing and despondent. Soon, his sister would also descend into mental illness. Despite these tragedies, Roget lived a colorful life full of unexpected twists and discoveries-including narrowly avoiding jail in Napoleon's France, assisting famed physician Thomas Beddoes by personally testing the effects of laughing gas, and inventing the slide rule. Evocative and entertaining, The Man Who Made Lists lets readers join Roget on his worldly adventures and emotional journeys. This rich narrative explores the power of words and the everlasting legacy of a rediscovered genius.
Publisher: New York : Putnam, c2008
ISBN: 9780399154621
Branch Call Number: 413.092 ROG KEN
Characteristics: 297 p. ; 24 cm

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z
zipread
Mar 15, 2014

The Man Who Made Lists: Love, Death, Madness, and the Creator of Roget’s Thesaurus. --- by Joshua Kendall. There was a time when there was nary a home that didn’t have, somewhere, along with a King James Bible, an Atlas, perhaps (with the British Empire faithfully rendered in rose), an Encyclopedia Brittanica, a dictionary, and a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus. What’s a word for the word? Look it up in Roget. And yet, his Thesaurus, that product of Victorian England was never the central opus (yes, I knew that word --- I didn’t have to Roget it) In a way, constructing the tome was a way for Peter Roget to cope with the problems of society and, more importantly, of his soul. Often spiritually tortured, he found solace in this métier. Kendall writes a fine biography and he writes it well. The reading is without hindrance and never tedious as a book such as this might easily become. This book might not appeal to all readers but it may appeal to you.

This is a book that is informative in so far as the history of the creator of the thesaurus and it is also informative about the times he lived in and as to why a person might be driven to create such a work. It isn't an easy read but it is worth it.

u
unreg_69810229
Oct 23, 2009

This book is great for people who like to think of the right word for the right moment.

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