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Oxford Revisited (Writer and the City)

3.0 of 5 stars 3.00  ·  rating details  ·  46 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Oxford is a world-renowned stronghold of knowledge, a lush medieval city dotted with beautiful gardens. But it also has a symbolic meaning well beyond these things. It stands for something deep in our minds - excellence, a kind of privilege, a charmed life, deep-veined liberalism, a respect for tradition. It is an ivory tower: a quiet, thoughtful place, yet one whose schol ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 94)
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A self-indulgent memoir that didn't live upto the blurb on the back cover. I was hoping for more detailed physical descriptions of Oxford the city and less of a glance back at the author's student days. One or two mildly interesting passages but ultimately too boring for me to recommend. Will never read again.
At first I wanted to say that this book was solipsistic, but in a good way. But now I'm not so sure. The book is about Oxford, not Justin Cartwright, but he nevertheless loves Oxford so much, and sees so much of himself in his former university, that its hard not to see this as a little solipsistic - but in a good way.
This was a good book on Oxford, but not one of the best that I've read. The author tried to convey how much his time at Oxford meant to him and how it had shaped his life. It was obvious that this was a significant time in his life, but he could have written about that alone more persuasively. I really didn't enjoy the many ramblings on Isaiah Berlin, for instance. Where he did excel, however, was in writing about the many unique aspects of an Oxford education: the tutorials, relationships with ...more
The Book Maven
Many years after "going down" (graduating) from Oxford University, the author returns to the City of Dreaming Spires to reflect on the place that the university has in his mind, as well as the popular imagination. This is a deeply reflective and strongly intellectual piece of work--I recommend reading this only when you have a fair amount of time to savor (and try to comprehend) the writing, and a dictionary to understand many of the words. Because it's of a pretty high intellectual caliber, thi ...more
I thought I was the soppiest Oxfordophile. I now give Justin Cartwright the trophy. A South African, like me, who attended Oxford in the sixties, here extols the beauties, myths, and secrets of this lauded city - the "Lourdes of England."

Short and sweet, like a novella.
I wasn't a big fan of this book. Stylistically it's very well written, but it's a book about Oxford the university not the city. Despite the author's best attempts Oxford, however beautiful and historical, comes across as a bit out of touch and elitist.
I'm on page 70 after picking this up yesterday at Blackwell's. If you don't mind its lack of structure (it wanders) and you don't mind someone mythologizing his life or this school, then it's a good read. I love the tidbits about Berlin.
Aug 27, 2015 Megan marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't finish it. His prose wandered too much in circles for me.
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Justin Cartwright (born 1945) is a British novelist.

Justin Cartwright
He was born in South Africa, where his father was the editor of the Rand Daily Mail newspaper, and was educated there, in the United States and at Trinity College, Oxford. Cartwright has worked in advertising and has directed documentaries, films and television commercials. He managed election broadcasts, first for the Liberal Pa
More about Justin Cartwright...

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