[ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 31, Issue 4_Oxbridge (Bruce Redwine)

Sumantra Nag sumantranag at gmail.com
Wed Oct 7 01:04:06 PDT 2009

 Message: 1
Date: Sun, 4 Oct 2009 12:21:23 -0700
From: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
Subject: [ilds] Oxbridge

"As Sumantra notes, many of these writers barely got through  their schools 
and ended up with third class degrees."

Bruce, I think many British writers of the pre-WWII generation who got poor 
degrees or no degrees at Oxbridge, did well enough academically at their 
schools to get into Oxbridge, and in some cases with scholarships or 
exhibitions. They were, probably, good students at school. Many schools, and 
particularly the well-known ones which regularly sent a number of their 
students to Oxbridge were equipped to train their students well during their 
final years in school, and for the entrance exams.

Did Lawrence Durrell have access to such training at the school where he 
was? He was provided with opportunities for private coaching I think. But 
the discipline within a school with a tradition would normally force a 
student to come up to his potential and the "peer group" too would have an 

I think you might find that levels of academic application or performance 
changed between school and university (Oxbridge in particular) probably 
because of the attractions of a broader life and more freedom offered at 
university. In some cases people may have already started writing seriously 
and this is what they concentrated on and neglected the greater academic 
effort required at university.

Of course there are writers who did well academically at university too.


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