Oxford

It’s so easy to go mad in Oxford: Chiang Mai Kitchen reviewed

21 September 2019 9:00 am

Oxford is a pile of medieval buildings filled with maniacs, and is therefore one of the most interesting places on…

Stuffed doll in Edwardian-style black dress with stiletto through face, south Devon, England , 1909–13

The objects that sound witchiest on paper just look sad: Spellbound reviewed

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Just in front of me, visiting Spellbound at the Ashmolean last week, was a very rational boy of about seven…

The English clergy at their oddest – a compendium

29 September 2018 9:00 am

As the wordy title of this book and the name of its author suggest, this is a faux-archaic, fogeyish journey…

Our great universities are struggling – but not because of Brexit

12 May 2018 9:00 am

British universities have serious problems. The recent strikes protesting against a sudden reduction in pension rights were unusually effective, and…

We’re all poorer for the loss of our small rail lines

2 December 2017 9:00 am

To me, the strange words ‘Marsh Gibbon’ once meant I was nearly home. My heart lifted as we creaked and…

The Queen and Prince Philip’s 70th anniversary party sounds glorious

25 November 2017 9:00 am

Windsor Castle on Monday night sounds like a children’s party magnified. The rooms were filled with golden-leaved trees. A giant…

Gleaming pictures of the past

14 October 2017 9:00 am

If you think you know what to expect from an Alan Hollinghurst novel, then when it comes to The Sparsholt…

A poet in prose

7 October 2017 9:00 am

Literary reputation can be a fickle old business. Those garlanded during their lifetimes are often quickly forgotten once dead. Yet…

Tales out of school

7 October 2017 9:00 am

In 1952, the five-year-old Michael Rosen and his brother were taken on holiday along the Thames by their communist parents.…

Oxford’s spires mark a new beginning

Greater Oxbridge

2 September 2017 9:00 am

Oxbridge is an ivory-tower state of mind, perhaps, or at least two ancient rival universities, but how about this: in…

By Patten or design?

22 July 2017 9:00 am

My old friend Richard Ingrams was said always to write The Spectator’s television reviews sitting in the next-door room to…

Oxford is full of overindulged whiners. It wasn’t like that in my day

23 April 2016 9:00 am

I was in the attic killing some Taleban on Medal of Honor when Girl interrupted and said: ‘Dad, what’s this?’…

Brexit is none of Mark Carney's business

12 March 2016 9:00 am

Surely there is a difference between Mark Carney’s intervention in the Scottish referendum last year and in the EU one…

Why the next Tory leader is likely to be in the ‘Leave’ camp

13 February 2016 9:00 am

Here is a thought for all those Tory MPs calculating their personal advantage in the forthcoming EU referendum: unless the…

Moral sainthood is a bore; sinners are much more fun

13 February 2016 9:00 am

Gstaad I had the rather subversive idea of offering a six-figure sum to Oriel College, Oxford. On one condition: that…

Why must David Cameron insult Oxford, when it gave him so much?

6 February 2016 9:00 am

In 2000, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, accused Magdalen College, Oxford, of class bias in failing to…

‘Untitled (Oxidation Painting)’, 1978, by Andy Warhol

Warhol the traditionalist: the Ashmolean Museum show reviewed

6 February 2016 9:00 am

When asked the question ‘What is art?’, Andy Warhol gave a characteristically flip answer (‘Isn’t that a guy’s name?’). On…

Hilly, wife of Kingsley Amis, in Swansea

Larkin’s misty parks and moors — in all their lacerating beauty

12 December 2015 9:00 am

When Philip Larkin went up to St John’s College, Oxford, in the early 1940s, he found himself in a world…

Charles Williams: sadist or Rosicrucian saint?

14 November 2015 9:00 am

Charles Williams was a bad writer, but a very interesting one. Most famous bad writers have to settle, like Sidney…

‘I hope you don’t mind these letters that just go on and on’

Iris Murdoch’s letters just go on and on — as she herself was the first to admit

29 October 2015 9:00 am

Iris Murdoch’s emotionally hectic novels have been enjoying a comeback lately, with an excellent Radio 4 dramatisation of The Sea,…

You won't believe this story about my friend, Jeremy Corbyn and the owl

26 September 2015 8:00 am

A friend of mine once watched Jeremy Corbyn try to rape an owl. This was the early to mid-1980s. The…

I know what the Piers Gaveston Society really did with pig’s heads

26 September 2015 8:00 am

I attended the Piers Gaveston Society in the mid-1980s, when I was at Oxford in the year above David Cameron.…

This way to a parallel universe, via north Oxford

5 September 2015 9:00 am

As a novelist, Iain Pears doesn’t repeat himself, and he gives with a generous hand. In Arcadia, he provides a…

How British universities spread misery around the world

25 July 2015 9:00 am

So farewell, Yanis Varoufakis. You used to be Greece’s finance minister. Then you resigned, or were you sacked? You took…

William Waldegrave: too nice ever to have been PM

25 July 2015 9:00 am

‘Lobbying,’ writes William Waldegrave in this extraordinary memoir, ‘takes many forms.’ But he has surely reported a variant hitherto unrecorded…