Oxford Life - Dacre BalsdonEyre & Spottiswoode, 1959, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Good+ — in Good+ Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded with a nick to the head of the spine. Leans. Previous owners' inscription to the half-title page. Text complete, clean and tight but a little age-tanned.
3rd impression. [First Edition: 1957] Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Illustrated endpapers and blanks;
From the cover: “There are many good books about Oxford, particularly about Oxford architecture, but there is no book which describes, as Mr Balsdon’s does, the day-to-day life of undergraduates, dons and College servants from the moment when Oxford wakes up from its Long Vacation to greet the Freshman each October, until, with the publication of the Class Lists, it pronounces sentence on the Third- and Fourth-Year man and goes to sleep again in the following July. Michaelmas Term is the Freshman’s term; Hilary Term is nobody’s term — dull and middle-aged; Trinity Term is everybody’s term, the Freshman’s and the Second-Year man’s for enjoyment, while for the Third- and Fourth-Year man it is, sadly, the end of it all.
This book will introduce those who as yet know nothing of Oxford, or know only its buildings, to the life which goes on there during the University year; it will remind those who have been at Oxford of their undergraduate life. It explains much that few undergraduates know, of the government of the University and of the Colleges. It explains some of the present-day problems of the University and of the Colleges and it describes the changes in the life of Oxford which have followed the 1939 war. It also looks back, in particular to Antony Wood and Thomas Hearne, for reminders that Oxford life two or three hundred years ago was not, in some respects, unrecognizably different from Oxford life today.
Mr Balsdon came up to Oxford as an undergraduate in 1920 and, except for a break in the last war, he has been a don in Oxford since 1926. There is much in his book that is instructive, and there is much that recalls the unconventional humour of the novel about Oxford, Freshman’s Folly, that he published six years ago. Two reasons led him to write this present book: firstly, the evidence from readers of his novel that the day-to-day life of undergraduates, dons and College servants is a subject which interests people; secondly, the experience of showing Oxford to visitors who, after they have seen the magnificence and the beauty of the place — the chapels, the libraries, the halls and the gardens — ask hesitatingly if they could be allowed to see a set of rooms in which an undergraduate lives. For Oxford is more than its buildings; it is the life that goes on in them and has gone on in them for centuries.”