Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Life of an Undergraduate at Oxford

I am a new fan of The Edwardian Promenade.  In the post for September 11th, an article on an American's observations of Undergraduate Life at Oxford was presented.  I include an excerpt from it below, as it provides a snapshot of what life was like at Oxford in the 1890s.  Enjoy!

The day of an Oxford man is somewhat different from that of an American student. He rises at eight, and goes to chapel, and from chapel to breakfast in his own room, where he gets a most substantial breakfast—I never saw such substantial breakfasts anywhere else — or, what is more likely, he breakfasts with some one else in some one else’s rooms. This is a most excellent and hospitable habit, and prevails generally. So far as I could see, no one ever lunched or dined or breakfasted alone. He either was engaged somewhere else or was giving a party of his own. And it frequently happened that after we were all seated our host would remember that he should be lunching with another man, and we would all march over to the other man’s rooms and be received as a matter of course. It was as if they dreaded being left alone with their thoughts. It struck me as a university for the cultivation of hospitality before anything else.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Old Knock in Love

The concepts of "The Old Knock" and "Love" do not easily meld.  I am afraid to say that the Old Knock, in general, is not particularly adept in the art of love.  It is unsurprising to find that most Old Knocks are not wed, or if they are, they did not participate in the Holy Act of Matrimony until well into their later years.  (Once has only to consider the grand C.S. Lewis, pictured above, with his wife Joy.)  The fact that some Old Knocks actually have been known to reproduce is nothing short of extraordinary.

The cause for this lack of romantic excellence is due, almost entirely, to the primary focus of the Old Knock’s life: their field of study.  Lest we forget, an Old Knock is defined almost entirely by his (or her) devotion to intellectual pursuits.  This does not leave one much time to master the finer graces required for wooing.

Take for instance P.G. Wodehouse’s Gussie Fink-Nottle.  Here is a young man devoutly committed to his beloved newts.  Is it any wonder that at the moment he hopes to, as they say, “seal-the-deal” with his beloved, he hopelessly flubs it?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Young Fogey A La Mode

I have been trying to get my hands on a copy of The Young Fogey Handbook, but I'm too cheap pay the fifty-plus it would take to purchase a used copy.  I've managed to round up what appears to be Chapter two and I am posting them below.