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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  84 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
An account of the character, history, mores, buildings, climate, and people of one of Britain's most fascinating cities. This book is intended for all those interested in the local history, culture, and architecture of Oxford, especially visitors to Oxford.
Paperback, 282 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 1965)
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Nov 30, 2009 Laurie rated it it was amazing
When is a guidebook like a historical novel, rich in texture and human nature? When it's by Jan Morris--this time of Oxford, and as much memoir as guide.
Dec 28, 2012 Rob rated it really liked it
Having enjoyed Morris's charm and wit at a roundtable discussion I attended at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival a few years ago, I was delighted to receive this as a Christmas present having only comparatively recently arrived to live in Oxford.

It's a marvellous overview of the famous city with rich historical research entertainingly interwoven with juicy anecdotes. It's staggering that this relatively small town of 150,000 has come to have had such influence - not that this is always a good thi
Jul 02, 2009 H added it
Shelves: nonfiction
Just a big dump of research, with some pretty prose about the locale. Took two weeks to finish the book.

I'll take a leap and say that it's also uncompelling because the place itself has seen no wars; even Hitler resisted bombing Oxford because he cherished it so much. That means it's a mostly preserved historic site of culture without much change or conflict. That's great for the city, but maybe not so much for a book about it. Where's history without the story arc?
Daisy Watt
Jun 29, 2015 Daisy Watt rated it really liked it
Jan Morris' book on Oxford is informative and a pleasure to read. After living in Oxford for three years I still had a lot to learn about the city, and for me her account of the history (and particularly the religious past) of both Town and Gown was especially eye opening.

Besides facts and figures, though, I have appreciated Morris more in Oxford and Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere for her extraordinary gift for depicting places. There are moments in Oxford when she captures the feel of the c
Andrew Darling
Jan 01, 2015 Andrew Darling rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
If only I could live my life over again; not arse about at school doing no work; get enough exam passes and self-confidence to study at Oxford; there to enjoy exchanges like the one Jan Morris describes in this gorgeous book. Dining one day with a distinguished botanist at an Oxford college, she offered to pass him the dish of parsnips; he politely declined, explaining that 'he seldom ate umbelliferae'.
Lynn Green
Dec 12, 2015 Lynn Green rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
I enjoyed reading Jan Morris' book Oxford because he looked at both the good and not as good parts of this famous university town. I was a bit disappointed that Morris made no mention of C. S. Lewis of J. R. R. Tolkien or anything about the Inklings. However, I learned about a host of colorful characters like the Fellow who fed his pet jaguar live hamsters.
May 06, 2016 Jenn rated it liked it
"Oxford inspires both love and loathing: and in this, as in so much else, she is not just a city, but a civilization too."

This book also inspires love and loathing. Some chapters are wonderfully, delightfully evocative. I could feel the damp chill of the atmosphere and wanted nothing more than to lose myself in one of its many storied libraries. Other chapters are such a slog that I wanted to toss the book with all its obscure references into a fire. I'm pretty well grounded on English history u
Dec 17, 2015 Ben rated it liked it
Shelves: history, guidebooks
A biography of Oxford by somebody who knows her stuff and writes very well. If Ackroyd's London had been as focused and organised, I might have gotten through it. While I'm living in Oxford, I just know I'll be coming back to this book time and again, for its tidbits of fascinating information about this city's history, architecture, learning, sophistication - and utter nonsense.
Andrea Fuller
May 11, 2011 Andrea Fuller rated it really liked it
Very well written. I was a history major so I read a lot of dry history books, this was the exact opposite. The author's writing style is so wonderful I could see what she was writing about and learning at the same time. I highly recommend!
Pat Smith
Aug 21, 2013 Pat Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jan Morris is a fine travel writer who lives in Oxford, England. In this book she gives a description of Oxford and its environs as well information about its history and comments about the university and some of its excentrics.
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Jan Morris previously wrote under the name "James Morris".

Jan Morris is a British historian, author and travel writer. Morris was educated at Lancing College, West Sussex, and Christ Church, Oxford, but is Welsh by heritage and adoption. Before 1970 Morris published under her former name, "James Morris", and is known particularly for the Pax Britannica trilogy, a history of the British Empire, and
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