To The Best of Our Knowledge
from Wisconsin Public Radio
It's one of the great stories in the history of books.
James Murray was a poor kid from Scotland who dropped out of school
at age 14. Somehow, he taught himself the history of words in various
languages, and went on to create the world's greatest dictionary.
In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge Simon Winchester
tells the remarkable story of James Murray and the Oxford English
Paul Flores and Marc Bamuthi Joseph
are spoken-word poets in the San Francisco Bay area. They tell
Steve Paulson this is a new kind of poetry, revolutionizing the
literary landscape and creating a new generation of writers.
The Oxford English Dictionary was created in 1857,
and was expected to be finished within ten years. The first edition
was finally completed 71 years later. Simon Winchester tells
Jim Fleming about the central character in the story, a high-school
dropout named James Murray. He edited the dictionary for nearly
40 years, and refused to cut corners even when his publishers
pressured him to speed things up. Winchester's book is The
Meaning of Everything. Abram de Swaan is a Dutch sociologist
who studies the politics of language. He tells Steve Paulson that
English is the worldwide language of business and diplomacy, though
many wish it weren't.
Billy Collins has stepped down as America's
Poet Laureate, but he hasn't stopped trying to make poetry more
accessible and more widely read. His own poems do much of the
work, grabbing the reader in the very first line. He tells Jim
Fleming about the art of writing a poem. His latest collection
is called Nine Horses.
Cassette copies are available
at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 04-01-04-A.
- Billy Collins, Nine Horses: poems
- Simon Winchester, The Meaning of Everything:
the Story of the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford)
- Before Flores & Joseph interview:
Paul Flores w/ "I am on a journey to my soul, but the police
just pulled me over" on "Handbook for the Apocalypse"
CD Wide Hive Records
- After Flores & Joseph interview: Marc Bamuthi
Joseph w/ "Late" on "Seeking" CD
- Jasmon w/ "Dimdana" on Putamayo's "World
Lounge" CD Putamayo World Music
- After Simon Winchester: Tony Barrand w/ "The
Battle of Hastings"
- After Abram de Swaan: Bjork w/ "Visur Vatnsenda-Rosu"
on "Songs from the Cold Seas" Columbia
- After Billy Collins: Dissidenten w/ "Instinctive
Traveler" on Putamayo's "World Lounge" CD Putamayo
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