This volume, the eighth in The History of the University of Oxford, is the first study of how one of the world's major universities has responded to the formidable challenges offered by the twentieth century. Because Oxford's response has not taken a revolutionary or dramatic form, outside observers have not always appreciated the scale of its transformation. Focusing on the years from 1914 to 1970, the authors show how misleading is Evelyn
Waugh's Brideshead Revisited as a guide to modern Oxford. Full attention is given to the forces making for change: the rapid growth in provision for the natural and social sciences; the advance of professionalism in scholarship, sport, and cultural achievement; the diffusion of international
influences through Rhodes scholars, two world wars, and the University's mounting research priorities; the growing impact of government and of public funding; the steady advance of women; and the impact made by Oxford's broadened criteria for undergraduate admission. Yet the continuities are also stressed: the day-to-day realities of college life; the continuous adaptation and extension of ancient buildings; the persistence of Oxford's traditional emphasis on
undergraduate study, on the humanities, and on religion; the steady accumulation of books, research materials, objects of art, and scholarly espertise. Although the emphasis rests on the University's national and international role, and how it has interacted with outside influences, changes in Oxford's internal
structure are not neglected, and an epilogue links the volume's historical material with the most recent developments. With its concern for the interaction between ideas and their environment, this generously illustrated and scholarly study contributes significantly to the history of ideas and culture in twentieth-century Britain. It sheds light on the training given to an important section of the nation's political and cultural opinion-formers. And, given the
University's distinctive structure and the authors' efforts to avoid undue introspection or self-congratulation, the volume also provides valuable background material for the discussion of educational policy. In short, its presents the reader with a rich cornucopia of insight into many aspects of British
life. Contributors: J.M. Winter, Pembroke College, Cambridge; John Prest, Balliol College, Oxford; Dan Greenstein, University of Glasgow; Brian Harrison, K.V. Thomas, and Valentine Cunningham, all of Corpus Christi College, Oxford; Robert Currie, Wadham College, Oxford; J.B. Morrell, Emeritus Professor, University of Bradford; Paul Addison
University of Edinburgh; Jose Harris, St Catherine's College, Oxford; John Roche Linacre College, Oxford; Frank Turner, Yale University; Charles Webster, All Souls College, Oxford; Janet Howarth, St Hilda's College, Oxford;R.A. Denniston, G.G. Barber, C.J. White, Diane Kay, D.J. Wenden, R.C. Whiting, A.H. Halsey, J.G. Darwin, J.P.D. Dunbabin, and M. Brock.
Roy Jenkins, Daily Telegraph
`The eighth volume of the rather glorious History of the University of Oxford is a large and impressive achievement ... as an account of the objective framework of the life of the University of Oxford, this volume of its history could hardly be bettered.'
Times Literary Supplement
'This is a splendid book, vastly readable and often entertaining. Odd bits of information will stick in one's mind.'
Lord Beloff, Times Higher Education Supplement
'The scholarship is impeccable, the range of activities covered by the 33 contributors mind-boggling.'
Raymond Carr, The Spectator
'I am an interested party. But reading this excellent book - itself a monument to all that is good about Oxford scholarship - I have become all the more convinced that such a second dissolution would be a calamity not only for Oxford, but for us all.'
Niall Ferguson, Daily Mail
'the 24 contributors to this eighth volume all write with a wealth of information, and most of them with a critical insight which makes this monumental work far from being a complacent brochure of self-praise'
Roy Jenkins, Daily Telegraph
'It covers, with massive scholarship, all aspects of university life ... will bean invaluable work of reference for the history of ideas'
John A.F. Thomson, University of Glasgow, History, No. 256, June 1994
'this is an excellent book - absolutely first class - an intellectual triumph ... In short this book is worthy of its subject. Why did we ever expect anything more?'
A.D. Harvey, London Magazine, August/September 1994
'histories like this serve as reference books, or rather, collections of "reference essays"... the qualtity of writing and research is high and there has been a considerable amount of cross-referencing... the very amount of work involved in bringing this volume together is awe-inspiring... one is bound to be impressed with a volume that covers so much ground so well.
James Munson, Literary Supplement, September 1994
'This must be the most detailed and comprehensive history of any university produced in our time. Dr Harrison and his team have been triumphantly successful in providing, in a form both scholarly and readable, the historical background to these unresolved issues. Whatever its other failings, this is an academic community which can produce recent and contemporary history of outstanding quality and substance.'
G.E. Aylmer, St Peter's College, Oxford, Journal of Educational Administration and History, Volume 27, Number 1, January 1995
`The editor, Brian Harrison, who has contributed three of the best chapters to this volume, deserves to be praised.'
`The volume constantly displays the skill and learning of its editor. Elsewhere, Keith Thomas provides a fascinating view of college life as experienced by him, and J M Winter introduces the process of change in Oxford by an important account of the impact of the First World War. Fine chapters are many. The heft of the volume and its riches mean that it will provide materials and ideas for a long time to come.'
`formidably scholarly and informative'
R.D. Anderson, University of Edinburgh, History, Vol. 81
`it will be consulted with confidence by generations of historians and other curious people for as long as a social, intellectual, cultural or political history survive as serious activities ... a massive and well-signposted quarry ... the richest store of anecdote and oral history that has been assembled about this curious place, or perhaps about anywhere else. This is a volume about the paradoxes of radical change and obstinate continuities.'
H.G. Judge, Brasenose College, Oxford, Oxford Review of Education, Vol. 23, No. 2, 1997