In wonderland

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Question: How do you get an (aspiring) librarian immensely, unabashedly excited?

Answer: Take her to Oxford, England for a day!

Step 1: Visit Oxford University's Bodleian Library, which was erected in the fifteenth century and is one of the oldest of such institutions in all of Europe today. Show her up to the library's original wing - a gothic-style hall that is full of books dating back hundreds of years - and for the first time since arriving in England, she will actually gasp.

Image via The Guardian

Step 2: Tour Christ Church, one of Oxford University's largest colleges which counts Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) on its list of past students and faculty members. Ask Stuart Fleming, the organization's darling assistant custodian, to point out the various inspirations for Dodgson's work, as well as a variety of locations used in the Harry Potter films, and she will officially be smitten.

Christ Church

Christ Church. This MASSIVE tree was Dodgson's inspiration
for the jabberwocky in his poem of the same name

While at Christ Church, Dodgson developed a close friendship with the dean, Henry Liddell,
as well as his wife and children. One of the dean's daughters, Alice Liddell, became Dodgson's
inspiration for the heroine in Alice in Wonderland. Her family's home was on on the other side of this tiny door and she would often peer through the keyhole into a garden that she was forbidden from entering.

Christ Church. Staircase used in the Harry Potter films

Christ Church. Dining hall used in the Harry Potter films

Step 3: Throw in some shopping in the town's quaint shops. Shopping is always good.

Step 4: Hop over to the Story Museum, a project that is just underway and has a planned opening of 2014. Explain the organization's vision and its plans for exhibitions, performances and creative activities - she will begin making mental plans for a return trip.

Step 5: Make sure she enjoys a dinner at The Eagle and Child, an Oxford pub where the Inklings, a literary group that included C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, regularly met to discuss their writings between 1933 and 1949.

And that is all it takes.


Mom said...

I'm Back! I have missed being able to read your blogs the past few days. Sounds like you are having a terrific time. Just don't get so use to things that you decide to stay...I would be terribly sad! HA!!
Love you!
By the way...You have quite a following...seems everyone is enjoying your facinating journey.

Mom said...

By the way... Where's Betsy?

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