Monday July 2nd

The weekend saw the students going off on their own to explore a range of sites and events.  They clearly do not lack for adventure!  I would run into them occasionally but this Monday morning we all convened for our class which introduced us to Percy Shelley, a less-than-successful student of University College but a man who led a reckless and creative life.  They conveyed that they thought Mary Shelley was the real genius in the family.  Interesting.  This chapter took us down Merton Street to explore the south corners of Oxford, including the Botanic Garden. Oriel College, coffee houses, and rebels in general.  Our discussions were lively, albeit tending to wander a bit too close to home at times:

  • coffee shops as places for communication, debate, intellectual engagement vs. the Starbucks grab ‘n go.
  • politics and helplessness:  global communication as both a force of information flow that allows us to be aware but also as overwhelming us and leading to that state of hopelessness.
  • conversing with strangers around Oxford: sharing views of America
  • Places here to which students gravitated and felt ‘at home’

spiny little flowers

After lunch we all visited the Botanic Garden which turned out to be not very successful with the students.  True, the sun was beating down and quite brutal  but I was surprised by how little attention the wide and lush flower beds received.  Later that day the entire group did attempt punting on the Cherwell.  They survived and I suspect will have a grand tale to weave.