Wanderlust Fuel: Oxford

Sunday, September 13, 2015

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Many places are repeated on this list because Oxford is a small place with a lot of literary history.

J.R.R. Tolkien The man behind the great Middle-Earth tales, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I’ve admired Tolkien’s imagination for years now.

  • Exeter College- Tolkien was an undergrad at this college from 1911-15, he studied the Classics until he changed to English Language and Literature in 1913.
  • Merton College- Tolkien was the Professor of English Language and Literature here from 1945-59.
  • The Eagle and Child Pub- Tolkien and his fellow Inklings met here almost every Tuesday while at Oxford for lunch. 
  • Botanical Garden- Tolkien would rest under his favorite tree here, the Austrian Pine, which could partly be an inspiration for the Ents. 
  • Wolvercote Cemetery- Tolkien and his wife, Edith are buried here. 
  • Northmoor Road- there is a plaque at 20-22 commemorating Tolkien’s former home here.

Lewis Carroll- the celebrated mathematician and beloved author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland spent most his life in Oxford and met the little girl who inspired his most famous story.

  • Christ Church- Carroll lived, studied, and taught here most of his life. 
  • Alice’s Shop- a souvenir shop across from Christ Church. 
  • Botanical Garden- Carroll once showed Alice Liddell and her sisters the Ginko tree here and its waterlily house can be seen in the background of Tenniel’s illustration of “The Queen’s Croquet-Ground.”

Harry Potter Films- Several scenes were filmed in the beautiful Oxford and there is no way I am going to miss them.

  • New College- the cloisters of this college and its magnificent tree can be seen in the scene where Moody turns Malfoy into a ferret. 
  • Christ Church- Hogwarts’ Great Hall in the films is based on their Hall. 
  • Bodleian Library- Duke Humfrey’s Library was used as Hogwarts Library (restricted section, too!) and the Divinity School is the Hospital Wing.

C.S. Lewis- author of the Chronicles of Narnia, an amazing allegorical fantasy story of Christianity.

  • Magdalen College- especially Addison’s Walk in the grounds where Lewis, Tolkien and fellow Inkling Dyson had a lengthy conversation that extended back to Lewis’ rooms in Magdalen very early in the morning, which helped lead Lewis into converting to Christianity. 
  • The White Horse Pub next to Blackwell’s Bookshop/ King’s Arms Pub opposite the Bodleian- Lewis and the Inklings sometimes went to these places instead of the Eagle and Child when there was a beer shortage during the War. 

Kenneth Grahame- author of the classic children’s story featuring Mr. Toad, The Wind in the Willows.

  • St Cross Church Cemetery- the author is buried here. 

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie King- a story that quickly became close to my heart Mary Russell, wife of the great detective, is always keeping him on his toes.

  • Bodleian Library- Mary spent many days and nights cooped up here studying theology.

His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman- the fabulous fantasy that captures the imagination and sings Oxford’s praises like no other.

  • Botanical Gardens- a bench in the garden serves as a meeting place for both Lyra and Will in their respective worlds.