BC: DEPARTED | England | 29 July 2012 | All images were taken by Darla Grant or courtesy of Wimikedia Commons.
FC: Authors of Oxford 2012
1: Oxford | England | ARRIVED 22 July 2012 | is a city as well as a nationally acclaimed university. The university is home to many popular literature writers who were also students and professors.
2: What's more fun than reading literature? Sudying l | What's more fun than reading literature? Studying about literature where it was written and published! I studied the fantasy masters in Oxford during the summer of 2012. Keep reading to see what I learned.
4: Literature and the Fantastic | A study of Oxford authors
5: OXFORD AUTHORS include the poet W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, Philip Pullman, Percy Bysshe Shelley and many more. This historic location has provided the inspiration for some of the most loved books in history. The setting was a major factor for many authors.
7: down the rabbit hole | ALICE'S DOOR This charming door in the Dean's private garden at Christ Church College was the inspiration for famous door in Alice in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, lived and taught at the college. Alice is based on the dean's daughter, Alice Liddell. My literary group spent a morning reading essays written by Carroll regarding his work on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Then, we toured Christ Church college and other places in Oxford that served as inspiration for the book. Oxford is a magical place filled with secret doors. It's easy to see how Carroll found his story developing in this locale.
8: THE EAGLE & CHILD PUB | was the favorite location for meetings of the Inklings, the writing group that included both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. They met frequently at the pub to read from the books they were currently writing. These included The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. A visit to the pub helped me see the the creative process behind the immortal classics of Tolkien and Lewis. C.S. Lewis is famous for saying "No more bloody Elves!' in response to Tolkien's reading from LOTR. | Did you know that Tolkien didn't like Narnia? He thought it was an in-authentic setting.
9: The most famous fantasy books of all time were written in Oxford by authors who were not only friends but also worked together to create their stories.
10: I studied the location in which Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was written. This great and fantastical tale employs many strange settings within the novella. I saw Alice's door, the "Treacle" well, and the tree by the river that inspired the fall down the rabbit hole. | Studying the book's origins helped me to put the setting. into context. I teach this book to 8th grade English students each year. Now, I have a frame of reference for the action that takes place in the book. Many of Alice's crazy settings are merely dream versions of real places. I see how Carroll created his fantasy world based on the real, and my class can discuss reasons why the story becomes more fantastical. Here are some discussion questions I have in mind. Why would an author create fantasy locations? What purpose does that serve? Is the book less enjoyable for knowing it was based on a real place.
11: In Oxford, I also studied C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. These two great authors belonged to the same writing group in Oxford, where they would meet to read and critique each other's writing. This information is especially important to me when teaching their books because I can discuss the craft of writing and how the other writers of the time affected the writing of Tolkien and Lewis. Both authors have written essays justifying the choice of fantasy as a genre. Fantasy writing was a new prospect when they were writing, and they were criticized for writing about Narnia and MiddleEarth. Knowing that these authors took a risk on fantasy, makes the reading even more fantastical.
12: Studying literature in its place of birth provides the physical and historical context to enhance meaning.