Oxford Quotes

Quotes tagged as "oxford" Showing 1-30 of 35
Christopher Hitchens
“Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing. The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament—the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana—is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea. The same applies to the seder at Passover, which is obviously modeled on the Platonic symposium: questions are asked (especially of the young) while wine is circulated. No better form of sodality has ever been devised: at Oxford one was positively expected to take wine during tutorials. The tongue must be untied. It's not a coincidence that Omar Khayyam, rebuking and ridiculing the stone-faced Iranian mullahs of his time, pointed to the value of the grape as a mockery of their joyless and sterile regime. Visiting today's Iran, I was delighted to find that citizens made a point of defying the clerical ban on booze, keeping it in their homes for visitors even if they didn't particularly take to it themselves, and bootlegging it with great brio and ingenuity. These small revolutions affirm the human.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Natasha Pulley
“Everybody, professors and students and Proctors the same, knew that if the sign said 'do not walk on the grass', one hopped. Anybody who didn't had failed to understand what Oxford was.”
Natasha Pulley, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

Evelyn Waugh
“Have you at any time been detained in a mental home or similar institution? If so, give particulars.'
'I was at Scone College, Oxford, for two years,' said Paul.”
Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall

Edmund Crispin
“None but the most blindly credulous will imaging the characters and events in this story to be anything but fictitious. It is true that the ancient and noble city of Oxford is, of all the towns of England, the likeliest progenitor of unlikely events and persons. But there are limits.”
Edmund Crispin

Christopher Hitchens
“Pettiness often leads both to error and to the digging of a trap for oneself. Wondering (which I am sure he didn't) 'if by the 1990s [Hitchens] was morphing into someone I didn’t quite recognize”, Blumenthal recalls with horror the night that I 'gave' a farewell party for Martin Walker of the Guardian, and then didn't attend it because I wanted to be on television instead. This is easy: Martin had asked to use the fine lobby of my building for a farewell bash, and I'd set it up. People have quite often asked me to do that. My wife did the honors after Nightline told me that I’d have to come to New York if I wanted to abuse Mother Teresa and Princess Diana on the same show. Of all the people I know, Martin Walker and Sidney Blumenthal would have been the top two in recognizing that journalism and argument come first, and that there can be no hard feelings about it. How do I know this? Well, I have known Martin since Oxford. (He produced a book on Clinton, published in America as 'The President We Deserve'. He reprinted it in London, under the title, 'The President They Deserve'. I doffed my hat to that.) While Sidney—I can barely believe I am telling you this—once also solicited an invitation to hold his book party at my home. A few days later he called me back, to tell me that Martin Peretz, owner of the New Republic, had insisted on giving the party instead. I said, fine, no bones broken; no caterers ordered as yet. 'I don't think you quite get it,' he went on, after an honorable pause. 'That means you can't come to the party at all.' I knew that about my old foe Peretz: I didn't then know I knew it about Blumenthal. I also thought that it was just within the limit of the rules. I ask you to believe that I had buried this memory until this book came out, but also to believe that I won't be slandered and won't refrain—if motives or conduct are in question—from speculating about them in my turn.”
Christopher Hitchens

Andrea Kayne
“Gloria watched the swollen white orb of a hot-air balloon rising over Navy Pier and knew she had to break it off with Oliver, for he was the type who would never enjoy hot-air balloons, Van Morrison songs, or mess, whether from orgasm or otherwise. But who was she to be dreaming about mess today?”
Andrea Kayne Kaufman, Oxford Messed Up

Dorothy L. Sayers
“See that the mind is honest, first; the rest may follow or not as God wills. [That] the fundamental treason to the mind ... is the one fundamental treason which the scholar's mind must not allow is the bond uniting all the Oxford people in the last resort.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers 1899-1936: The Making of a Detective Novelist

Richard Rhodes
“The landed classes neglected technical education, taking refuge in classical studies; as late as 1930, for example, long after Ernest Rutherford at Cambridge had discovered the atomic nucleus and begun transmuting elements, the physics laboratory at Oxford had not been wired for electricity. Intellectual neglect technical education to this day.

[Describing C.P. Snow's observations on the neglect of technical education.]”
Richard Rhodes, Visions of Technology: A Century of Vital Debate About Machines Systems and the Human World

Dorothy L. Sayers
“The mellow bells, soaring and singing in tower and steeple, told of time's flight through an eternity of peace; and Great Tom, tolling his nightly hundred-and-one, called home only the rooks from off Christ Church Meadow.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night

Julia Whelan
“I envy you going to Oxford: it is the most flower-like time of one's life. One sees shadow of things in silver mirrors. Later on, one sees the Gorgon's head, and one suffers, because it does not return one to stone. -- Oscar Wilde, letter to Louis Wilkinson (December 28, 1898) in the beginning of the book”
Julia Whelan, My Oxford Year

Nick Hornby
“I'd hoped for someone who was remarkably intelligent, but disadvantaged by home circumstance, someone who only needed an hour's extra tuition a week to become some kind of working-class prodigy. I wanted my hour a week to make the difference between a future addicted to heroin and a future studying English at Oxford. That was the sort of kid I wanted, and instead they'd given me someone whose chief interest was in eating fruit. I mean, what did he need to read for? There's an international symbol for the gents' toilets, and he could always get his mother to tell him what was on television.”
Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down

Charles Finch
“The Bodleian above anything else made Oxford what it was . . . There was something incommunicably grand about it, something difficult to understand unless you had spent your evenings there or walked past it on the way to celebrate the boat race, a magic that came from ignoring it a thousand times a day and then noticing its overwhelming beauty when you came out of a tiny alley and it caught you unexpectedly. A library--it didn't sound like much, but it was what made Oxford itself. The greatest library in the world.”
Charles Finch, The September Society

Jill Paton Walsh
“It’s just that we wear rose-coloured spectacles when we return here [to Oxford] – we are dazzled by the foolish idealism of our youthful years.”
Jill Paton Walsh, The Late Scholar

Zia Haider Rahman
“Pointing to the sandstone buildings around us, some of which had stood there for several hundreds of years, she commented on how old everything in Oxford looked. Can’t they afford anything new? she asked earnestly.”
Zia Haider Rahman, In the Light of What We Know
tags: oxford

Charles Finch
“The truth was that I didn't know my own mind. Just as you might move into a house and in the scatterbrained days of unpacking leave a broom in some corner, where it remains until someone uses it and then returns it to that corner, now knowing that it was there by casual chance, until slowly that corner becomes its hallowed place, where you can always find the broom - just as all traditions begin as accidents, how the borders of countries are formed, how we marry, how we make friends and children - so, until Oxford, had I lived, within a sequence of non decisions, and yet with the same misdirected conviction of intentionality with which humans infuse their errors and felicities alike.”
Charles Finch, The Last Enchantments

John Fowles
“Nine-tenths of all artistic creation derives its basic energy from the engine of repression and sublimation, and well beyond the strict Freudian definition of those terms.

John Fowles attended new College in Oxford. You might like to see my collection of Oxford trees at Rob's Bookshop.”
John Fowles

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
“From thence we proceeded to Oxford. As we entered this city, our minds were filled with the remembrance of the events that had been transacted there more than a century and a half before. It was here that Charles I. had collected his forces. This city had remained faithful to him, after the whole nation had forsaken his cause to join the standard of parliament and liberty. The memory of that unfortunate king, and his companions, the amiable Falkland, the insolent Goring, his queen, and son, gave a peculiar interest to every part of the city which they might be supposed to have inhabited. The spirit of elder days found a dwelling here, and we delighted to trace its footsteps.
If these feelings had not found an imaginary gratification, the appearance of the city had yet in itself sufficient beauty to obtain our admiration. The colleges are ancient and picturesque; the streets are almost magnificent; and the lovely Isis, which flows beside it through meadows of exquisite verdure, is spread forth into a placid expanse of waters, which reflects its majestic assemblage of towers, and spires, and domes, embosomed among aged trees.”
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
tags: oxford

Virginia Woolf
“...quite the chilliest and least human known to me. You see brains floating like so many sea-anemones, nor have they shape or colour.”
Virginia Woolf

Dorothy L. Sayers
“There, eastward, within a stone’s throw, stood the twin towers of All Souls, fantastic, unreal as a house of cards, clear-cut in the sunshine, the drenched oval in the quad beneath brilliant as an emerald in the bezel of a ring. Behind them, black and grey, New College frowning like a fortress, with dark wings wheeling about her belfry louvres; and Queen’s with her dome of green copper; and, as the eye turned southward, Magdalen, yellow and slender, the tall lily of towers; the Schools and the battlemented front of University; Merton, square-pinnacled, half-hidden behind the shadowed North side and mounting spire of St. Mary’s. Westward again, Christ Church, vast between Cathedral spire and Tom Tower; Brasenose close at hand; St. Aldate’s and Carfax beyond; spire and tower and quadrangle, all Oxford springing underfoot in living leaf and enduring stone, ringed far off by her bulwark of blue hills.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
tags: oxford

Dorothy L. Sayers
“I set out in a lordly manner to offer you heaven and earth. I find that all I have to give you is Oxford—which is yours already.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night

“On the whole, although Zuleika is shallow and vain, we don’t blame her for her disastrous effect on Oxford because we perceive that the love she inspires is essentially narcissistic and has deep roots in the institution she has overwhelmed. It is a love of the unobtainable ideal—the paradox of self-fulfillment in self-destruction—which originates with Romanticism, with Byron and Shelley, and finds its apotheosis in the decadent pose of Wilde: his open self-love, yet self-destructive wantonness and preoccupation with death.”
Sara Lodge, Zuleika Dobson

“Though his public teaching lasted only three years, it has been scrutinized by scholars in every science—among them theology, philosophy, psychology, and sociology to name a few. Jesus’ influence has founded universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, Princeton, and Harvard. Now spanning the entire globe, Jesus’ followers have been inspired throughout the centuries to set up educational institutions to teach what he taught.”
Jon Morrison, Clear Minds & Dirty Feet: A Reason to Hope, a Message to Share

David Szalay
“He likes it. The fairy-tale topography of the town. A make-believe world of walled gardens. The quietness of summer. The stone-floored lodge and the deferential porter. Yes, a make-believe world, like something imagined by a shy child.

Somewhere to hide.

Dreaming spires.”
David Szalay, All That Man Is

Elif Shafak
“Con le sue strade acciottolate, le torri merlate, le gallerie ad arcate, i bovindi e i portici scolpiti, Oxford pareva uscita da un libro di fiabe. Tutto, nel loro campo visivo, grondava storia; al punto che persino le caffetterie e i grandi magazzini sembravano parte integrante di quell’eredità secolare. A Istanbul, che pure era una città antichissima, il passato veniva trattato come un visitatore che si era indebitamente trattenuto troppo a lungo; mentre qui a Oxford era chiaramente l’ospite d’onore.”
Elif Shafak, Havva'nın Üç Kızı

“Oxford has been called many names, from 'the city of beautiful nonsense' to 'an organized waste of time”
Richard Hillary, The Last Enemy: The Centenary Collection

Edmund Crispin
“bruscas sacudidas del tren abofetean a los viajeros hasta dejarlos sumidos en un estado de abyecta sumisión”
Edmund Crispin, The Case of the Gilded Fly

“A volte penso che abbiamo fatto un grande giro per tornare a calpestare le vecchie orme. Siamo ancora sotto l'ombra dell'albero di Matthew Arnold, a contemplare i pinnacoli di Oxford, con
attorno la quieta campagna inglese. Campi e campanili. Com'è conciliante e ordinata questa natura. Popolata da creature innocue e laboriose, regolare e placida come l'Oxfordshire. - indicò i pascoli. - Siegfried l'ha capito, sai. E' per questo che apprezza le mie poesie
e le pubblica sul giornale. E' l'orrore che si scorge in trasparenza. Non c'è bisogno d'essere modernisti per vedere i crateri delle
bombe in mezzo ai prati.
- Ma non possiamo scrivere della guerra per sempre. - ribatté Robert. - Io vorrei che Nancy illustrasse i miei versi. Voglio scrivere per Jenny. C'è qualcosa davanti a noi, il resto della vita, la
famiglia, i figli.
Si trattenne. Chiese scusa.
Ed parve non farci caso. - Siamo come talpe. - mormorò. - Abbiamo scavato il nostro buco su questa collina e sbirciamo fuori, chiedendoci cosa ci sia laggiù. Laggiù c'è ancora la guerra. Ci sono i mostri. Facciamo finta di non saperlo, ma ci stringono d'assedio.”
Wu Ming 4, Stella del mattino

Faith Martin
“This was Oxford, after all”
Faith Martin

Thomas Newport
“I propose that an area of no more than 300 square miles, centered roughly upon Henley-on-Thames, has made this quintessentially British town Britain's 'small town and village murder capital'.”
Thomas Newport, BINOCLARITY: A travel along the length of the River Thames and into the heart of the British psyche

W.H. Auden
“And over the talkative city like any other
Weep the non-attached angels”
W.H. Auden, Selected Poems
tags: oxford

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