Ophelia Field

Speaker: Daisy Dunn

Topic: Not Far from Brideshead: Oxford Between the Wars

Venue: Ondaatje Lecture Theatre, Radcliffe Centre

Time: 14.00-15.00 Saturday 8 October

Talk Summary:

Daisy Dunn describes a story of passion, jealousy, debate, exuberance and foreboding, painting a fascinating portrait of academic Oxford in the first half of the 20th century, the near-sylvan world immortalised by Evelyn Waugh in his novel of 1945, Brideshead Revisited. Her cast of characters includes: the classicist and wit Maurice Bowra, who inspired the character of Brideshead’s Mr Samgrass; the Australian-born classical scholar Gilbert Murray, who married into the family that owned Castle Howard, the model for Brideshead; and E.R. Dodds, Regius Professor of Greek, who correspeonded with many of the century’s literary greats, including W.H. Auden, Louis MacNeice and W.B. Yeats.


Daisy Dunn is a classicist whose previous books include Catullus’ Bedspread: The Life of Rome’s Most Erotic Poet, The Poems of Catullus: A New Translation, and In the Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny, which was Editor’s Choice in the New York Times. She writes and reviews for a number of publications, including the Spectator, and is the editor of ARGO: A Hellenic Review.