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Oxford (Oxford Paperbacks) [Paperback]

Jan Morris
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New edition edition (May 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192850741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192850744
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,897,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Oxford by Jan Morris 1 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A good read. Well researched and written . Probably more suitable for someone who is familiar with a least one of the colleges.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book is a marvellous combination of evocative description and encyclopaedic knowledge. I inherited my copy from my mother's belongings, but did not look at it till a visiting Cambridge friend dipped into it and told me how wonderful it was. I could hardly put it down. I had been an undergraduate at Oxford, and it brought back those heady days. I remember walking through narrow attic rooms beating the bounds of St Mary's; listening to the ethereal sounds of the choir singing from Magdalen Tower at 6.0 a.m. on May Morning; and the more earthly sound of the dawn chorus in Wytham Woods. And yet, this book made me feel guilty for walking through the fields in gloves, missing so much and so much. We led confined and routine lives as female students, seeing only a fraction of Oxford. We were not allowed inside the men's colleges, except for the occasional lecture, or an afternoon visit to a male friend. We never explored further than our bicycles would take us, and the crammed eight week terms allowed little time for the extramural interests that so absorbed Jan Morris. Her book compensates for what I missed. The author is superb on the past, but her sure touch begins to falter in the later chapters when she comes to the present and the future. For her, Oxford was the heart of England, and England was the heart of the world. Yet by 1987 (the third edition), this was no longer true. She laments the decline, but seems unaware of the extent of it. Despite her Welsh background, she regards England as synonymous with Britain. She suggests that moving the seat of government 56 miles from Westminster to Oxford might have prevented the dominance of the south-east of England over the whole country. Read more ›
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent book on Oxford 6 May 2000
By A Customer
an intellectually dense work based upon an exhaustive review of the city both physically and on paper, but presented with a spirit that enthuses and captivates. A book that anyone who has studied, lived or is curious about Oxford should read.
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7 of 25 people found the following review helpful
If you are looking for a detailed guide to Oxford, don't bother with this book. It is the author's personal - rather idiosyncratic - view of the city. And although it may be crammed with interesting facts you have to read the entire thing to find anything of relevance to your own interests.
Morris loves to present her personal experiences as typical and to dress it all up in a writing style that is just dying to impress. If you know the city you'll be hard pressed to match her stereotypes to reality, and if you don't you'll be disappointed that the city isn't as other-worldly as the one she portrays.
Chapter headings are not just unhelpful but baffling. There is no obvious structure to the book and any interesting snippets are scattered throughout. To cap it all there is also no bibliography, so her word is final.
As a work of fiction it is dense and satisfying. But if you want your questions about the real Oxford answered you'll be disappointed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Celebrating a Wonderland 15 Jun 2000
By "jack_in_northfield" - Published on
Oxford is one of the most intriguing, enchanting, mysterious, historical and beautiful cities in the world. It is the location of _Alice in Wonderland_, _The Wind in the Willows_, much of Waugh's _Brideshead Revisited_, and Dorothy Sayer's _Gaudy Night_. Jan Morris's book is a celebration of this city so witty, so well informed, and so gripping that you may find it to be the best "travel book" you have ever read. A must for anglophiles, lovers of cities, lovers of literature, architecture, and history, and those fascinated by university life. I myself have the same experience as Susan Hill, a reviewer in the (London) Times, who wrote, "I devoured, and now constantly dip with delight into _Oxford_."
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT WRITING. 16 Feb 2002
By Sonoma Valley - Published on
This is an urbane, witty book, beautifully written and structured so that every facet of Oxford is covered in a very readable manner.
Although I loved Oxford to begin with, this book enhanced my appreciation of the city and I feel that I know more about its history and its manners now than I ever did before.
Jan Morris never resorts to sentimentality, but she shows her enjoyment of her research in many ways.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is even remotely interested in "The Oxford Story".
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