The University of Oxford: A History

ISBN : 9780199243563

L. W. B. Brockliss
912 ページ
171 x 246 mm
  • Single-volume history of the University of Oxford from its beginnings in the late eleventh century to the present day
  • Explores Oxford's improbable rise from provincial backwater to one of the world's leading universities
  • Written by one of the leading authorities on the history of universities internationally
  • Highly illustrated to provide a visual complement to the text

This fresh and readable account gives a complete history of the University of Oxford, from its beginnings in the eleventh century to the present day. Written by one of the leading authorities on the history of universities internationally, it traces Oxford's improbable rise from provincial backwater to one of the world's leading centres of research and teaching.
Laurence Brockliss sees Oxford's history as one of discontinuity as much as continuity, describing it in four distinct parts. First he explores Oxford as 'The Catholic University' in the centuries before the Reformation, when it was principally a clerical studium serving the needs of the Western church. Then as 'The Anglican University', in the years from 1534 to 1845 when Oxford was confessionally closed to other religions, it trained the next generation of ministers of the Church of England, and acted as a finishing school for the sons of the gentry and the well-to-do. After 1845 'The Imperial University' saw the emergence over the following century of a new Oxford - a university which was still elitist but now non-confessional; became open to women as well as men; took students from all round the Empire; and was held together at least until 1914 by a novel concept of Christian service. The final part, 'The World University', takes the story forward from 1945 to the present day, and describes Oxford's development as a modern meritocratic and secular university with an ever-growing commitment to high-quality academic research. Throughout the book, Oxford's history is placed in the wider context of the history of higher education in the UK, Europe, and the world. This helps to show how singular Oxford's evolution has been: a story not of entitlement but of hard work, difficult decisions, and a creative use of limited resources and advantages to keep its destiny in its own hands.


Part 1: The Catholic University: c.1100-1534
Introduction: The First Universities
1: Foundation and Institutionalisation
2: A University of Clerics
3: Halls and Colleges
4: Teaching and Learning
Conclusion: Towards the Reformation

Part II: The Anglican University: 1534-1845
Introduction: The Age of Confessionalism
5: The University and the Colleges
6: Church and State
7: Students and Teachers
8: Masters and Learning
Conclusion: English Exceptionalism

Part III: The Imperial University: 1845-1945
Introduction: Reform and Resurrection
9: A Century of Reform
10: Undergraduates and their Education
11: Oxford Life
12: Towards the Research University
Conclusion: Oxford in Context

Part IV: The World University: 1945-2013
13: External Pressures and Internal Responses
14: Students, Staff, and Research
15: The Oxford Experience
Conclusion: Future Prospects


L.W.B. Brockliss, Fellow and Tutor in History Magdalen College and Professor of Early-Modern French History, University of Oxford
Professor L.W.B. Brockliss is a historian of education, science, and medicine with a particular interest in early-modern France and England. His doctoral thesis was on the University of Paris and his first book was a study of French Higher Education in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (1987). More recently, he has been the editor and co-author of Magdalen College, Oxford: A History (2008). For many years he was the English representative on the international commission for the history of higher education and he has also edited the journal History of Universities.

"Brockliss has achieved a considerable statement in the history of higher education." - David B. Taylor, History of Education

"Brockliss's masterly, energetically written history uncovers a wealth of fascinating details." - Paula Byrne, The Times

"Magnificently readable ... The particular benefits of this volume are that it brings the story right up to 2015, and that the author makes excellent use of a comparative knowledge of higher education in the UK and globally" - Oxford Today

"An extraordinary achievement, resting on a staggering amount of research ... Professor Brockliss has processed a truly terrifying amount of material, and seems equally assured on medieval scholasticism, modern medicine, or the quantities of wine consumed by 18th-century dons (it was a lot - even more than you might expect). It is also a remarkably easy read." - The Revd Peter Anthony, Church Times

"well written, expertly presented, comprehensive, clear in its judgements." - Michael Alexander, Tablet

"generous in its detail and clear in its narrative." - Oxford Culture Review

"Brockliss' work is crammed with fascinating discussions, debates and analyses concerning the university and its place in history — and, indeed, in the world." - Ben Ray, Cherwell

"The book is a balanced and highly readable account of an institution which remains a beacon of knowledge and scholarship around the world" - Commonwealth Lawyers' Association

"This magisterial synthesis ... is an independent scholarly work, rich with details and insights and setting Oxford into larger educational contexts. Excellent illustrations, fine maps, and revealing tables enhance a volume that is sure to become a standard classic ... Highly recommended." - CHOICE

"deserves to be read from cover to cover." - Alan Crossley, Oxoniensia