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Ogden Honors in Oxford 2022 Travelogue

Reflections from the 2022 Oxford Study Abroad Program

Note from the Program Director 

Ogden in Oxford is the Ogden Honors College signature study abroad program.  Students spend three weeks in residence at St. Hilda’s College, University of Oxford, earning 6 hours of HNRS and general education credit.  This year we are exploring ancient, Victorian, and modern odysseys through the works of Homer, Virgil, Ovid, Austen, Brontë, Dickens, Atwood, and Rhys.  Below, our students reflect on their first impressions of Oxford, texts in context, and days traveling to Bath, London, and the Cotswolds.  We hope you enjoy our musings and memories.  If you are interested in joining the Ogden in Oxford program, contact or chat with Dr. Arms, dlamoni@lsu.edu.  

First week in Oxford – First Impressions 

 

My first week in Oxford was certainly a culture shock, but not an extreme one. Everything vaguely coincides with things in the United States, like food, stores, and ideologies. It’s a lot easier to get around Oxford than it is in most US cities, because there are a lot more sidewalks, taxis, buses, trains, etc. For my first week in Oxford, I did a LOT of walking, easily hitting over 10 thousand steps a day. It’s striking how the things we have at home are just slightly different in the UK. They have McDonald’s here, but theirs serves a vegan burger called the McPlant that the US doesn’t offer. The UK is a lot more eco-focused: there are recycling bins everywhere, nearly every bottle is made of 100% recycled plastic, there are no plastic straws, and retail stores encourage bringing your own bag or buying a recyclable/reusable bag with your purchase. It’s kind of refreshing because the massive efforts done here do make the atmosphere cleaner. I think the first word I would use to describe Oxford is “old.” Many of the colleges here have buildings that are 3 times older than the United States itself! Despite being centuries old, Oxford is still functional (for the most part—medieval Britain couldn’t have predicted 100-degree weather). Oxford is similar enough to home to adjust easily, but different enough to be a fresh experience. 

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Liam Hopper 

 

Welcome to Oxford! After waiting all summer, we finally landed in England and made our way to St. Hilda’s to meet our porter. For those that don’t know, the porter basically acts as a gatekeeper to the college and an encyclopedia of all pertinent information about Oxford, punting, and the country in general. For example, within the span of one hour, we visited the porter three times in order to ask about the WiFi, how to use the punting boats, and the best ways to travel across the country (it’s by bus, if you’re wondering). After the first week at Oxford, I am resolute in the fact that the tradition of the porter needs to come to every college in the United States. Aside from the excellent discovery of the porters, the lack of air conditioning in most buildings struck everyone as a bit of a shock. The hike to my room on the top floor of our dorm with my bags created a bit of a struggle on the first day. However, after I learned to simply keep my windows open, I adjusted to the breeze flowing in and waking up to birds chirping every morning. So, though it’s not 60 degrees in every building, by opening the windows, you learn to appreciate the fact that there are practically no bugs here. This fact, for me, has me ready to move here immediately. Aside from the more trivial aspects of adjusting to a new school and country, the sheer age of many of the buildings and extensive history of the city struck me almost immediately. Yes, the buildings of the colleges quickly appear as historical, but I failed to realize that many of the random places around Oxford are easily 200 years old. On our second day here, we popped into a coffee shop and realized this coffee shop has been serving coffee for over 350 years. To emphasize the insanity of this statement, I’ll point out that this establishment has been serving coffee longer than the United States has been a country. Continuing the tour of shockingly historical buildings, we visited the Divinity School at Oxford, which any Harry Potter fan would recognize from the detailed ceiling. Here, our guide told us that students and professors used this beautiful room from the 1400s for lectures and examinations. These professors, however, only gave oral, public examinations in front of other students. I cannot imagine taking a one on one exam with a professor in front of a room full of peers, yet, Oxford still uses this technique to this day. After a week of touring and learning about our new home, the importance of history and tradition to this institution stood out to me as a main value of both Oxford the town and the university. The legacy of this institution is palpable as we walk through the town and take classes within their buildings, and I feel incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to study at Oxford University.          

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Chloe Johnson 

A Day in Bath 

 

In our classes, part of our studying includes Jane Austen’s Persuasion and aspects of classical antiquity. Therefore, last week, we took a trip to Bath – a place important in Jane Austen’s life as well in her novel Persuasion and a place which is helpful in understanding classical antiquity due to its famous Roman Baths. In Bath, we took a tour around the city to see where Jane Austen lived at different points in her life. Below is where she lived for six weeks!

Also featured in the picture is our tour guide who was dressed in regency clothing, so we really felt more emersed in the experience. Plus, his clothing and top hat really added something to my picture! We also got to see various spots that are mentioned in Persuasion, such as the street where Sir Walter Elliot looked upon the people of Bath to declare how ugly they were. Sir Walter was clearly not a very likeable character, but he is a great example of one of the many eccentric characters Austen creates! Following our tour around the city, we went to the Jane Austen Center, where we learned more about her life and works. We even got to dress up in regency era clothing which was very fun!

After our Jane Austen experience, we switched gears and headed to the Roman Baths. Seeing something that was used thousands of years ago and being where Romans were so long ago was a truly incredible experience. Most awe inspiring to me was seeing the temples where they worshipped and the altars where they sacrificed to their gods. Those places were so important to the Romans and were filled with so much emotion and meaning thousands of years ago, so being able to walk along the same path they walked along to get to the altar was quite a humbling experience.

Overall, my favorite part about Bath was the beautiful melding of time in the city. I find it incredible how in this city we saw 18th and 19th century buildings, medieval buildings, and even Roman buildings. Three very distinct periods all working together to make Bath what it is today. I really love the picture below because it shows a medieval church rising above the ancient Roman Baths, a truly profound image showing a great expanse of human history and how we have changed. Incredible sights like this are a treasure to see especially because nothing like this can be found in the States!

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Rachel Guarisco

 

"I really believe I shall always be talking of Bath, when I am at home again–I do like it so very much…. Oh! Who can ever be tired of Bath?" Jane Austen wrote these words in her novel Northanger Abbey, and I wholeheartedly agree with her sentiments.

Strolling through the streets of Bath truly feels like a walk through the past. Bath is a town of rich history, with ancient ruins from the Roman occupation of England in the first century and further down the street, The Royal Crescent, a stunning example of Georgian architecture and the vanity of the society who built it.

During our time in Bath, our group saw physical remnants of things we’d only read about in books. We started our trip with a walking tour of the city, led by Mr. Knightly from Austen’s Emma. The tour focused on landmarks relating to the life and works of Jane Austen: the gravel walk Jane frequented, many of the houses she lived and wrote in, and locations mentioned in her novels. After a brief lunch, we visited the Jane Austen Centre where Mr. Wickham, from Pride and Prejudice, educated us on the life of Jane Austen, especially her time in the city. After, we were able to try on period appropriate wear and even try our hand at writing with a quill and ink.

One key sight in Bath is the many “crescents” of houses, where the Elliots from Persuasion would’ve lived. These crescents were magnificent works of art when viewed from the front but were originally built as a façade. It wasn’t until later that actual houses were attached, one at a time; due to this, the rear of the crescents lacks correspondence, contrasting the precise uniformity of the front. This contrast is representative of a society driven by appearances, only focusing on how they present themselves. One key concern of Jane’s novel Persuasion is the vanity of English society, especially in Bath, personified in the character of Sir Walter Elliot. After considering the egotism of Sir Walter and what it says about English society, it was fascinating to see the physical manifestations of this self-absorption.

After our trip to the Regency Era, we descended further into the past and visited the ruins of the Roman baths. Upon entering, we toured the ruins of the temple area, learning about the spiritual aspect of the baths. We then moved on to the Great Bath, and the adjacent East and West Baths, to learn about the social and ritual aspects of public bathing. When at the baths, visitors would move through the rooms dedicated to different purposes, such as the caldarium (hot bath), tepidarium (lukewarm bath), and frigidarium (cold bath); this ritualistic bathing is similar to the ancient practice of xenia, or hospitality, as shown in the Odyssey, which included ritualistic steps. The baths were also significant during Austen’s time; then, they were typically used for medicinal purposes. Doctors would advise their patients to travel to Bath to “take the waters,” as seen in the character of Mrs. Smith in Persuasion. It was fascinating to see a spot that was so vital to the town of Bath and has made its way into literature throughout the ages.

Much of the charm of Bath comes from its timelessness; it is rare to find places to connect ancient Roman culture and 19th century social structures while exploring a bustling contemporary city. So here I sit, still talking of Bath, just as Jane Austen did, just as the Romans did, for who can ever be tired of Bath?

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Charlotte Balart

London Weekend 

 

Part One: British Museum and Circe

Spoiler alert: I have never been one for museums.

However, throughout this study abroad trip, we have been reading many pieces of literature that concern both Victorian ideals and classical antiquity. Dr. Arms and Dr. Zerba have both tried to coordinate the excursions we do to the literature we have read including the museums and the exhibits we see. This has made the museums much more relatable and enjoyable to walk through.

On our first day in London, we visited the British Museum. It is both a history museum as well as an art museum with over eight million works in their collection. The outside looked reminiscent of an ancient Greek temple with a pediment that features statues symbolizing human progress. Then we walked inside, and I was immediately taken aback. There is a huge room called the Great Court that is impressive in its size and modern style. It was definitely not what I was expecting.

My favorite part of this museum came as a surprise. One of the readings that struck me during this trip was Homer’s The Odyssey but not for the reasons that it was intended. It is an epic about the heroic and treacherous journey of Odysseus as he struggles to return home from the Trojan War. However, the storyline I was most intrigued by was Circe, a powerful sorceress who was a master of potions and would also transform her enemies into animals. She ruled her own little island that Odysseus and his men visited during The Odyssey. She really was a woman that could hold her own, which is incredibly inspiring.

That’s why it was such a surprise to walk into one of the exhibits in the museum and see a painting of Circe hanging on one of the walls. It was so cool to be able to relate something that we not only read but enjoyed learning about to something we see in a museum or excursion. And it is absolutely a beautiful painting depicting Circe offering poisoned wine to Odysseus with a pig next to her (perhaps one of Odysseus’s men that she turned). She really was the epitome of a girl boss.

Part Two: Buckingham Palace

On day two, we went to Buckingham Palace. We were not allowed to take pictures in the palace, which is really a shame.

The outside of the Palace is beautiful, but it absolutely does not do the inside any justice. Almost every square inch of the inside is grandiose and covered in gold molding. It is immaculate and almost shocking. Each room had a different purpose and had such ornate decor and finishings. I kept being taken aback by the fact that this is someone’s home.

There were several galleries full of paintings collected by various monarchs that were stunning. There were portraits of royalty and nobility from all over Europe, landscapes, and scenes ladened with Christian, medieval, and classical references. I was in awe of just how many beautiful paintings there were. My favorite of these paintings was one of The Coronation of Queen Victoria at Westminster Abbey. Victoria, much like Circe, was a powerhouse in her own right. We learned that Victoria was raised in a very strict household with not much entertainment or love, but despite this, she became one of the most important rulers in England’s history. Learning about this part of her story reminded me much of another read we had during this trip: Hard Times by Charles Dickens. One of the messages in this book was that robbing people of their imagination is a dangerous game. Victoria’s imagination was neglected by her family in lieu of rules and regulations to teach her how to be the perfect queen. It was a blessing that Victoria was as strong willed as she was, and she was able to overcome this.

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Part Three: The Six Wives of Henry VIII 

Now, onto the best part of this London adventure for me, SEEING WEST END SHOWS! This was the one thing I told myself I had to do while I was in London, and I am so glad I was able to do it!

I was able to see Six the Musical, which is about the infamous six wives of King Henry VIII of England. This show is a mix of history, pop music, girl power, hilarity, and storytelling that I just can't get enough of. You get to hear from each woman’s anecdote of the trauma that this man put them through, but it is really a story of sisterhood and reclaiming your history. I really enjoyed it, and I will be talking about this show and this trip no doubt for the rest of my life. 

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Kate Cooper

 

This weekend I was able to spend an amazing three days in London with The LSU Ogden Honors College in Oxford program. We have spent much of our time in Oxford, where we study and analyze art and literature, but the London Weekend offered new explorations and questions to ponder. The museums in London are vast, and hold some of the world's most cherished possessions. The most notable visit we made was to the Tate Britain galleries.

Tate Britain is a center for celebrating excellent British art from Tudor times to modern times. Part of our course is the study of the Pre-Raphaelite movement in Britain, which began in 1848 with the founding of a secret society titled the “Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood”. Although these images were a focus of our studies, some of my favorite works are more romantic and abstract paintings done by Joseph Mallord William Turner. Turner was a child prodigy, debuting his first work at the Royal Academy of Arts at the age of 15. His skill was unmatched. He was also known to add final touches to his paintings during the final minutes before their debut, sometimes changing the appearance of the landscape drastically.

Although considered a Romantic painter, he inspired the Pre-Raphaelite movement through his ability to present his landscapes in an interpretive yet realistic way. Pre-Raphaelite painters were in revolt against idealizing the world and human figures as the romantics did, but Turner was the exception. As you study the work of Turner, you realize that as you physically get closer to the painting, you uncover more detailing and beauty than assumed at first glance. Turner loved to emphasize humans' awe-inspiring interaction with nature, and the all-giving yet all-taking qualities of the world.

Some call Turner the “first modern artist” because he showcased styles never seen before. Many of his later works are described as looking like impressionist paintings, a style of painting that would not meet with French artists until years after Turner completed his final works. The expressive and “messy” nature of his works, along with his use of bright and natural colors, allows for a beautiful and interpretive interaction with the viewer. I am constantly wanting more when I gaze at his work, wishing the painting would just stretch out allowing me to jump in. He was a strong influence on the Impressionist movement, and modern abstract artists today.

I have included some of my favorite pieces from Turner in this blog. I wish you all could have been there to view and discuss them with me. I urge you to look further, and maybe visit the Tate website for more thought-provoking excerpts on Turner and his work. Let them inspire your vision of the world, as they did with me.   

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Ronnie Nankervis

Around Town 

 

During class, we have made many connections between the discussions we’ve had and the daily trips we have gone on. One of the most prominent to me is the Pre-Raphaelite Gallery in the beautiful Ashmolean Museum right here in Oxford. During the course of this program, we have learned extensively about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and what their core values were. Most of those core values mean rebelling against what the Royal Academy of Art was teaching students at the time: less color, very pyramidal groups of figures, and one major light source at one side of the painting. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood sought to defy that by focusing on an extremely detailed representation of everything in the painting, with bright and intense colors.

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On one excursion we visited two Pre-Raphaelite exhibits at the Ashmolean Museum. These galleries were completely filled with these paintings, and when the paintings are seen in real life, the difference between this art and what was pushed by the royal academy at this time truly stood out. Every painting had immaculate detail and precision in every object and bright colors that stand out to the viewer. When seeing these paintings online it does not have nearly the same effect as it does when you can get up close and notice every single thing about a painting.

I am extremely grateful that I have had the experience and opportunity to see some of these amazing works of art in person due to this program. I have also had the opportunity to visit so many beautiful Oxford Colleges, like Christ Church and Magdalen College, which were some of my favorite excursions on the trip. These schools have been here for hundreds of years and have so many unique features such as huge cathedral-like chapels, and Magdalen has a deer park right on the campus. I am amazed at what this city has to offer, and being able to study at St. Hilda’s College in Oxford has been an experience I will never forget. 

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Analeigh Millican

 

Staying in the city of Oxford has been absolutely incredible. We’ve explored many of the historic colleges of Oxford University and visited some wonderful museums. On our visits to the Ashmolean Museum, we saw exhibits on the Pre-Raphaelite artists as well as Roman art and sculpture.  There were pieces in both exhibits that were portrayals of the classics and Roman mythology, which relates to the literature that we’re reading in class. We saw an ancient Roman statue of Laocoon, a character in Virgil’s Aeneid, just a few days after discussing the story in class.  We also saw a Pre-Raphaelite rendering of the Roman goddess Proserpina. It was interesting to draw parallels between the style choices of the artists who painted in drastically different time periods. They both displayed people with emotion and realistic body movement. The artists were able to make viewers feel like they’re in the moment, watching a scene, while also contributing symbolic elements to make them think deeper. The Pre- Raphaelites must have drawn inspiration from the Roman artists.

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Thinking back on the chapels that we visited in Oxford, which were built around the Victorian era, they probably drew from the grandiose of the Romans as well. Many of the churches have huge archways and are decorated with over-the-top murals and stonework. Although many of the artifacts left by the Romans seem plain, we learned at the Ashmolean that they used to paint their statues and buildings with colors, which must’ve made them even more dramatic.

Overall, being in the city itself has been eye-opening for me. Getting to study like real Oxford University students would have hundreds of years ago, is such an amazing experience. The buildings that they studied in, the streets that they walked, and the churches that they prayed in are all still there. It is really humbling to think about what has been accomplished here and I feel motivated to make a legacy of my own. One of my favorite parts about being here is just walking around the city. I get the chance to take in my surroundings and realize what a truly incredible opportunity I’ve been given.

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Maddy Meidenman

On My Own

 

Throughout my free time in Oxford, I took countless opportunities to get lost on purpose. If I stumbled upon a mysterious passageway, I strolled right in, knowing that I could very well end up in a lovely meadow of golden grass, a stunning stretch of architecture, or, in one special case, a delicious hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant (Chiang Mai on High Street, to be specific).

With that being said, I did not go hungry. I consumed many deep-fried dishes in many dark pubs, fought the heatwave with a waffle cone of blackcurrant ice cream, and became addicted to Rich Tea digestive biscuits – a rather unappetizing name for such magical little cookies. I was highly impressed with the quality of the chicken shawarma in the kebab vans. I was less impressed, however, with anything the Brits regarded as “Cajun” – although I did find such attempts endearing.

In between my gastronomic experiences, I did some more getting lost on purpose, more aimless strolling, more stumbling upon many exquisite little memories. One morning before class, I sat on a tree stump in Christ Church Meadow, shifting my attention between the clouds in the sky and the cows in the field. I tried many cappuccinos. I people watched. I leaned against the stone walls of several locked chapels as pipe organ song slipped through the door cracks. I sniffed a ridiculous number of flowers and sifted through tons of old books in charity shops, straining to resist the acquisition of superfluous luggage weight. In these charming places, I often thought of my home, my family, and my friends. I missed them deeply.

When I felt such pangs of homesickness, I found that taking long, deep breaths, listening to the same three songs on repeat, and wistfully gazing at the American food section at the local Sainsbury’s supermarket, which features jarred hot-dogs, Twinkies, and Pop Tarts, tended to help a bit. What helped most of all, however, was walking up to the Oxford Oratory, a sanctuary of stark silence and the familiar scent of supposedly scentless candles.

By getting lost in Oxford, I have found a deepened appreciation of long walks, good meals, cobblestone sidewalks, old bookstores, and British accents. I know that I will reminisce on my wanderings with great fondness.   

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Ann Clare Fremin

 

One of the fantastic features of the Ogden in Oxford program is the large amount of free time we receive. Being the foodie person I am, I have made sure to take advantage of this; knowing that we only have three weeks abroad has caused me to meticulously plan my meals. Writing about all the wonderful restaurants I have had the privilege to dine at would impossible, so I will be highlighting my favorites.

During the program I have eaten an amazing selection of Indian food. One of my favorite meals was from The Standard, a quaint restaurant located on Kensington Road in Oxford. While leaving Godstow nunnery, four students and I happened to come upon the restaurant and were intrigued by the wonderful smell. We grabbed a table outdoors, situated alongside the street, and began to search through the menu. Deciding what to order was very difficult, as everything sounded delicious, so we ultimately ordered ourselves a family-style feast. All the food was delicious, and I still reminisce about gorging myself there.

Being college students, my classmates and I love drinking coffee. One of our favorite places to do so is at The High Street Café, a coffee shop close to our classroom at St. Hilda’s College. High Street Café offers what you would expect from a typical café, yet it is unlike anything you will find in Baton Rouge. The iced mochas are delicious. The list of pastries available seems to go on forever, including freshly made crepes, scones, and chocolate croissants. My favorite item, however, is the chicken tikka sandwich, consisting of a crispy baguette filled with a delicious, spiced chicken salad.

If you want a quick bite on the go, the kebab trucks here cannot be beat. These trucks are like an oasis in the night. If you have never heard of a kebab, they are similar to a gyro. They often contain lamb, chicken or halloumi, served with vegetables and sauces, all placed on top of pita bread. My favorite is the doner kebab, made with rotisserie lamb.

Last, but certainly not least, is the pubs. There are numerous pubs in Oxford, serving up classic dishes like fish and chips, Scotch eggs and shepherd's pie. My favorite pub in Oxford has to be the Turf Tavern, a hidden pub with lots of history. The entrance to the Turf Tavern is an unassuming back alley that leads you to a small garden with outdoor seating. The inside of the pub is very cozy and definitely a place I could see myself escaping the cold in. I have had a few meals here, and my favorite was the Sunday roast.      

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Steven Seiden

Cotswolds 

 

For our final excursion outside of Oxford, we visited Cirencester and Kelmscott Manor in the Cotswolds. Cirencester today is just a quaint market town of 20,000 but was at one point the second largest city in the Roman Empire! Given that we are studying the influence of the ancient Greeks and Romans on British society, it was very fitting to visit the ruins of the Roman Empire in this historic city. Unfortunately, since the architects of the city’s remodeling in the 1960s did not care too much about the historical significance of the Roman ruins, much of our guided tour around the town was spent using artist depictions of the Roman buildings in the glory, coupled with our imaginations of what they would have looked like had they still been standing. Our tour guide was a very nice man from the Corinium Museum who seemed to love talking about the history of the town. Between the museum tour and the bus ride to our next stop, I stopped by a neat coffee shop called Kream that has (hands-down) the best iced mocha I have had in my three weeks in England!

Later we embarked on a journey to the Kelmscott Manor, home of the famous Pre-Raphaelite artist William Morris. One of the major focal points in our class on the Victorian Ideas and Ideals is the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and their influential movement in the art community. William Morris led the Arts & Crafts movement of the 19th century as a criticism against the social and moral havoc wreaked by the Industrial Revolution, which was clearly demonstrated by his charming manor in the country side. The house felt incredibly old and had portraits of Morris’s wife Jane all over the walls (the same Jane was romantic with another Pre-Raphaelite artist, Dante Gabriel Rossetti). The top floor was the most interesting part of the house since it was designed for the kids and not adults. My very tall self had to spend a lot of time up there ducking under low beams and short doorways! Surrounding the manor were beautiful gardens, vibrant streams, and even a game of croquet in the backyard (of which I am superior at playing!).

Overall, this was a great excursion to cap off our tour of England. A relaxed stroll down the streets of a former Roman glory, followed by some reading in the tall beds of flowers and shrubbery of Kelmscott was just the kind of ending to our amazing visit to Oxford that we needed.

Alec Sheehy

 

The program’s final group excursion brought us to the Cotswolds, a beautiful region brimming with picturesque countryside and charming antique villages. We made our first stop at the historic town of Cirencester, once one of Roman Britain’s major cities. Upon arrival, we set out on a walking tour through the city, intermittently stopping to admire remnants of Roman ruins that could be spotted amidst the town’s more contemporary cityscape (though still ancient by American standards!). We concluded our tour with tea, coffee, biscuits, and a lecture on Roman Cirencester at the town’s archaeological museum. There was no better way to reinforce the many interconnections between classical antiquity and nineteenth century England than by studying them literally side by side.

After our time in Cirencester, we headed east and spent the afternoon at Kelmscott Manor, the country home of Victorian power couple William Morris and Jane Burden Morris. The two were towering figures of their period’s artistic and intellectual landscape. William Morris was a prolific writer, artist, and social theorist whose ideas were immensely influential for many of the major cultural movements of the late nineteenth century in England, including the Arts and Crafts Movement and Aestheticism. Although never formally a member, he was also quite closely associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of artists which, after our time in the Ashmolean and the Tate Britain in London, seems to be following us nearly everywhere we go on this trip!

Jane Morris, an Oxford native, is famous for having modeled for some of the most iconic images in all of nineteenth century English art. She famously a muse for Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti and sat for some of his most important paintings. Most notably, Rossetti’s 1874-piece Proserpine, which we have both discussed in class and visited at the Tate, features Jane clutching a bitten pomegranate in a dazzling blue gown as the painting’s eponymous Roman goddess.

The manor itself was used by the Morris family as a summer home and general refuge from the chaos of London, where they had their main residence. We had the opportunity to explore the main house as well as the idyllic river and garden that surround it. Morris was famously interested in décor and design, so I was particularly pleased to see the wonderfully eccentric pieces of furniture and wall décor that adorned the manor’s interior. One especially fascinating section of the manor was the master bedroom. In the former sat Morris’ extravagantly decorated bed, dressed in baroque Morris-designed fabric and a poem, fittingly dedicated to his bed, engraved around the upper rim of the canopy. A set of overflowing bookshelves lined about two-thirds of the room, and I spent quite a bit of time combing through them. It was striking to see just how many of the books on display were authored by writers on our syllabi! Homer, Virgil, Euripides, Dickens, and Ruskin were all on Morris’ reading list.

Upon returning to St. Hilda’s, I realized that this excursion has had a uniquely strong impact on me. I cannot stop spotting Morris patterns! It is truly amazing how many walls, curtains, and ceiling a single man’s drawing of foliage can tastefully cover.

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Evan Leonhard