Lord Eldon (1751-1838), taking his degree at Oxford in 1770:
`I was examined in Hebrew and History: "What is the Hebrew for the Place of a Skull?" said the Examiner. "Golgotha", I replied. "Who founded University College?" I answered "King Alfred". "Very well, sir", said the Examiner, "Then you are competent for your degree".'
Parson Woodforde's Diaries, edited by John Beresford, were first published by OUP in the 1920s as a 5-volume series. In 1935 a single volume condensation was issued covering the whole timespan of the diaries with the original title Woodforde : Passages from the five volumes of The Diary of a Country Parson 1758 - 1802 - later changed to The Diary of a Country Parson 1758-1802. This same text was later issued in hardback under the World's Classics label and then in 1978 as an Oxford University Paperback. It has been reprinted many times since then.
In 1985 a new edition was published by Century Press in association with the OUP under the editorship of James Michie, reduced in length "with the intention of making Woodforde much more accessible to today's general reader". This edition was profusely illustrated by artists of the Norwich School and had a brief foreword by John Julius Norwich and an informative introduction by Robert Blythe. The title used was A Country Parson. James Woodforde's Diary 1759-1802.
To complicate matters further another selection of diary entries, edited by David Hughes and illustrated by Ian Stephens has been published by the Folio society.
These three works are sufficiently different to stand apart - please do not combine them.
fresh and eager...rich in character...so infectiously alive to the simple pleasures that even now the senses quicken to read it.' Jan Morris in The Times ...a brilliant picture of traditional English rural society ... (Parson Woodforde) is now among the most unforgettable characters of English literature.' Ronald Blythe in the Introduction The world in which Parson Woodforde lived was tumultuous to say the least. Yet while the French Revolution and the American War of Independence shook and changed the world, this kindly country prieSt fills the pages. of his diary with the ordinariness of his life, firstly in a Somerset parish and then in rural Norfolk. He accords no more importance to the Fall of the .Bastille than to the extra large crab he buys from a local fisherman or the cost of ribbons for his niece's hats. Particularly vivid are the descriptions of the gargantuan meals he enjoys - with friends and neighbours, his remedies for ailments, his descriptions of East Anglian winters, his modest but unfailing generosity to the poor and his enthusiasm for local gossip. Parson Woodforde's diary provides an extraordinary portrait of life in Georgian England, but it is the diarist's humour and unpretentiousness which ensure its place among the classics of English literature.… (more)