Oxonians Message Board


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Oxonians Message Board

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1anglofille First Message
Aug 1, 2006, 3:42 pm

How very like Oxonians in the first half hour of a drinks party: we're all standing around staring at the wallpaper and nobody's daring to get the conversation started. Must change that! Let's introduce ourselves (college, subject, era?). Book read at Oxford that had the most impact on you (whether or not related to coursework is immaterial!)? Book that most aptly captures the particular delight and weirdness of the Oxford experience?

Edited: Nov 27, 2009, 2:08 pm

Apologies - I should probably have got a conversation started when creating the group. I'm a current undergraduate, studying Classics. I'm pleased to see that Oxford's quite well represented on LT.

I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't read any Oxford-related literature, unless you count the Examination Regulations, which don't communicate the "delight and weirdness" of Oxford particularly well. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Aug 2, 2006, 1:08 pm

Hi - I'm not a 100% Oxonian - 1 year at St Peter's college as a visiting student in 1993. Had a lot of fun, though. I liked browsing through Hibbert's "Encyclopedia of Oxford" - has a lot of details but not too many ... Well, but this is non-fiction, you're probably looking for fiction...

Aug 2, 2006, 1:53 pm

I'm 100% Oxonian by some standards and not at all by others. ;-) Born and bred here, have lived here for 90% of my life so far, likely to stay here. Worked for UofO but studied at OBU (hiss, boo, I know). Married to someone who's approaching his twentieth year in the city, arriving as a student and moving on to work in his department.

5hackloon First Message
Aug 5, 2006, 7:16 pm

Well, BoPeep, hopefully I'm heading the same way as your husband. I arrived here to read Classics in 98, and am now doing a D.Phil in Church History, still at the same college :)

Anyway, obviously I would say Brideshead Revisited, for the Oxford we all wished still existed. But the books I remember most clearly from my time here are all the Latin and Greek texts I waded through. Nowadays, not many of my books have ISBNs, what with them all being published in the mid-16th century!

Aug 5, 2006, 9:22 pm

Oh yes, a book that sums up Oxford well for me: The Erosion of Oxford which is about the city more than the university. It's fascinating to see how the structure of the place has continually formed and reformed around the academic and industrial requirements. It's also got some great 'moans' about 1960s architecture e.g. County Hall. :)

Nov 1, 2006, 2:43 pm

This has obviously been dead for quite some time, so I hope no-one minds my resurrecting it. I just graduated from Magdalen, where I read PPE. My college politics tutor is also a member of this group. Does anyone else find it strange that the top book for this group is an Anglo-Indian dictionary?

Nov 2, 2006, 2:57 am

The whole top books list for this group strikes me as fairly odd. That said, most of it is the sort of thing I see on the bookshelves of Oxford friends.

A partial explanation for the popularity of Hobson Jobson: amazon.co.uk lists the author as "Sir Henry Yule", whereas on amazon.com he's just "Henry Yule". These authors haven't been combined, so the version that's popular in this group is naturally biased towards the UK. I feel bound to combine the authors now, which will probably knock the work from its top space.

Nov 3, 2006, 6:58 am

Though the most commonly owned book would appear to be 1066 and all that, which is perhaps a less surprising choice.

Nov 3, 2006, 6:28 pm

Apparently not; the mini-Zeitgeist says that 8 of us own Brideshead Revisited. That's probably even less surprising!

11Scrybe First Message
Feb 15, 2007, 11:09 am

DLSmithies - do you know Loic by any chance?

I graduated last year in PPE from Pembroke College. Brideshead Revisited is the obvious choice for summing up Oxford - many of my friends are/were in the I Wish I Was Like Charles And Sebastian group on facebook, so it fits well.

As for the book which most changed my thinking? hmm...way before Oxford, when I was lowly state school students, I read a book called How To Quit School And Get A Real Life Education by Grace Llewelyn (in my library) -- I didn't quit school, ubt it did resurrect my desire to educate myself. Without it I may never have reached Oxford.

I'll post about a book I read while at Oxford once I've had a chance to give it some thought...so many...so little time.

Feb 16, 2007, 8:10 am

Indeed I do know Loic, a fellow Magd PPEist. I hear he's teaching now - I bet the kids love him!

Feb 16, 2007, 4:54 pm

alas, he seems to have been given a young reprobate who is prone to displaying the most visciou of behaviours ... repeatedly beating a young polish classmate and videoing it on his phone on several occasions. Loic is in despair/rage as a result. I cannot say I blame him.

From your response I take you have declined the idea of a career in the noble profession?

My contract requires me to do 6 hours per week, fortunately with elder students and, even more fortunately, this has yet to transpire. Long may it continue that way. :-)

Feb 17, 2007, 4:02 am

By the noble profession you mean teaching? Yes, I can't say that's ever appealed really - I'm heading for the Bar, which I reckon is also pretty noble, depending on how you look at it.

15mrandmrsedwards First Message
Feb 20, 2007, 5:24 pm

Hello all, I was also PPE (Mansfield, matric 1997).

Book read at Oxford that had the most impact - probably the Bible ;-).

Book that most accurately captures 'the Oxford experience' - I can't remember the title, but there's a book which sets out all the Proctors Rules, particularly Title XIII which sets out the powers of the University Police (more than TV Police iirc)....

Apr 19, 2007, 9:57 am

Greetings. Went up to Lincoln in the 60's - just before Larkin's Annus Mirabilis - to read chemistry. Didn't understand a word so changed to medicine - with which I coped. Privileged to have tutorials with Sanders, Heatley and Abraham (of penicillin fame). Drove an old Morris which I parked in the Turl but had to carry a green light to alert the Proctors.

Slowly extracting myself from a working life as a GP so have time to spend on LT.

Oxford book? How about Zuleika Dobson?

Apr 19, 2007, 5:14 pm

Hello. ex-Jesus 1994 here, and another medic (also a GP).

Book that had the most impact on me whilst there? The Beauty Myth I think. I saw Naomi Wolf speak at the Sheldonian, and she was rather marvellous (it would have been four years or so after she published it). I spent much of my time avoiding work and wishing I was studying something arty as I found all the medicine (and dare I say it, the medics?) so utterly dry.

The book that summons up the Oxford experience - I have to admit wallowing in nostalgia reading Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. That first chapter of Northern Lights could have taken place in Jesus SCR, or indeed any SCR (although I think Pullman modelled Jordan College on Exeter).

Jan 5, 2008, 8:50 pm

Not exactly the most active message board in the world but I shall fling a few words into the void. I read English in 2000 - and now I work for the damn place.

Isn't it rather tragic that so many of us have copies of the Examination Regulations sitting around on our bookshelves. Thankfully I keep mine at work so I feel under no compunction to list it here as if I dip into it for a spot of light entertainment of an evening.

And on account of having dealt with Serious Literature for three years, I have now been rendered incapable of reading anything that isn't frivolous or I come out in a rash.

Edited: Jan 10, 2008, 1:20 am

I was at St. Hilda's back in the '80s. Read Modern History after getting a degree in English Lit. from Mount Holyoke College. (I'm from the US... Southern California).

Hmmm... book that had the most impact... Oh, dear. It was so long ago and not only do I have an atrociously bad memory, I wasn't much good as a student, either. I know that aside from hunting for Georgette Heyer books in Blackwells and other bookstores, I positively haunted this little Comics shop in Cowley Road. I do remember that I fell in love with the "Elfquest" comics at the time... and was such a fangirl-geek that I went on to Science Fiction and Game conventions afterwards, meeting many people and creating art and stories that definitely impacted my life as I went on to art school and have been making a sort of living as an artist/illustrator ever since...

Way out here in the West, I don't keep up with many Oxonians, but now and then I see an old friend, mostly from the OU RPG Soc. I'm actually meeting one tomorrow--he's in town taking his family to Disneyland. I haven't seen him in years.

I didn't recognize Oxford much in The Golden Compass, but then, you must know from this introduction that my experience was quite odd!

One of the books that brought me to Oxford was Dorothy L. Sayers's Gaudy Night. I used to think of the Inklings when wandering through Magdalen and Balliol and by the Eagle and Child pub...