This Secret Garden: Oxford Revisited (Writer and the City Series)

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9780747579618: This Secret Garden: Oxford Revisited (Writer and the City Series)
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Oxford is many things. But it has a symbolic meaning well beyond its buildings, gardens, rituals and teaching. It stands for something deep in the Anglo-Saxon mind - excellence, a kind of privilege, a charmed life, deep-veined liberalism, a respect for tradition. Cartwright has spoken to many leading figures, looked at favourite places in Oxford, subjected himself to an English tutorial - he performed very poorly - attended the Freshers' dinner in his old college, studied various works of art and museums, investigated the claim that dons like detective novels, and reread many Oxford classics.At the same time, he has looked at some of the great debates which made Oxford what it is, as well as the most recent debate about funding, which ended in a resounding defeat for the reformers. He depicts the beauty of this historic city, the landscape of enclosed quads and gardens, and the astonishing collection of buildings. Cartwright concludes that the Oxford myth, while outstripping the reality, is as powerful as ever. This is an enchanting and highly original look at Oxford, indispensable reading for anyone interested in the myth and reality of Oxford.

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About the Author:

Justin Cartwright's novels include the Booker-shortlisted In Every Face I Meet, the acclaimed bestseller The Promise of Happiness, White Lightning which was shortlisted for the 2002 Whitbread Novel Award, and the 1999 Whitbread Novel Award-winner Leading the Cheers. His most recent novel, The Song Before It Is Sung, was published by Bloomsbury in 2007. He was born in South Africa, and now lives in Islington, London.

Review:

'Justin Cartwright looks to be one of the finest novelists currently at work' Guardian PRAISE FOR THE SONG BEFORE IT IS SUNG: 'With inexorable tenderness Cartwright weaves his narrative threads into a fabric of beautiful complexity [...] He is notably good at openings, but the opening page of The Song Before It Is Sung, a list of the random thoughts drifting through Conrad's mind on a flight towards Berlin, is heartstopping' Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph 'This is a magnificent novel, the narrative utterly compelling, the author's understanding of moral complexities quite remarkable' Allan Massie, Scotsman

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