Oxford's Indelible Mark
In 1902 an article by Robert Baldwin Ross was published which discussed the ‘Oxford manner’ and aimed to identify its features. It proved to be an enjoyable little read and, like some of his other writing, deserves to be better known.
Robbie himself – as he mentions briefly - had been to the ‘other place’ having gone up to King’s College, Cambridge in 1888, though he had not particularly enjoyed his time there and left before graduating. But he was acquainted with many Oxford men. Three years before he started university he had met the Magdalen graduate, Oscar Wilde. The two men had become lovers and remained close friends until Oscar’s death. Lord Alfred Douglas was another Magdalen man. Then not long after writing this article, Robbie began corresponding with another gay man, Christopher Sclater Millard who was to compile Oscar’s bibliography and who was a graduate of Keble, a High Church establishment set up to educate prospective Anglican clergymen. Of course Robbie’s position at the heart of an artistic and literary circle in London brought him into contact with many of those who had made their way to Matthew Arnold’s “sweet city with her dreaming spires”.
His witty piece points out how Oxford marks out for ever those who study there.
Published: 9 February 2015
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