Sunday, May 1, 2011
Literature and popular culture
(England Twitter)-In The Reeve's Tale from The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, the two main characters are students at Soler Halle. It is believed that this refers to King's Hall, which is now part of Trinity College.
In Gulliver's Travels (1726 novel) by Jonathan Swift, the hero and narrator, Lemuel Gulliver, is a graduate of Emmanuel College.
In Tristram Shandy (1767 novel) by Lawrence Sterne, the title character is, like Sterne himself, a graduate of Jesus College.
In The Prelude (1805 poem) by William Wordsworth, the entire third chapter is based on the poet's time at Cambridge.
In Pride and Prejudice (1813 novel) by Jane Austen, both Mr Darcy and Mr Wickham, the primary antagonist, are Cambridge graduates.
In Memoriam A.H.H. (1849 poem) by Alfred, Lord Tennyson is a requiem written in memory of the poet's Cambridge friend Arthur Henry Hallam. The poem features numerous references to their time together at Trinity College, "the reverend walls in which of old I wore the gown".
In Doctor Thorne (1858 novel) by Anthony Trollope, Frank Gresham, heir to the near-bankrupt Gresham estate, is a Cambridge student. Despite his family's objections, he is determined to return to the University and study for a degree.
In A Tale of Two Cities (1859 novel) by Charles Dickens, Charles Darnay tutors Cambridge undergraduates in French language and literature.
In Middlemarch (1872 novel) by George Eliot, Mr Brooke, the heroine's uncle and guardian, is a Cambridge graduate. He claims to have been a student at the same time as Wordsworth.
In All Sorts and Conditions of Men (1882 Novel) by Sir Walter Besant, Cambridge is an important setting.
She: A History of Adventure (1886 novel) by H. Rider Haggard is the story of Horace Holly, a Cambridge professor, on a journey amongst the indigenous tribes of Africa.
In the Sherlock Holmes series (1887–1927 collection of novels and short stories) by Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes reveals that he first developed his methods of deduction while an undergraduate. The author Dorothy L. Sayers suggests that, given details in two of the Adventures, Holmes must have been at Cambridge rather than Oxford and that "of all the Cambridge colleges, Sidney Sussex [College] perhaps offered the greatest number of advantages to a man in Holmes’ position and, in default of more exact information, we may tentatively place him there.
In Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891 novel) by Thomas Hardy, Angel Clare rebels against his family's plans to have him sent to Cambridge and ordained as a minister of the Church of England. His older brothers are both Cambridge graduates and Cuthbert is the dean of a Cambridge college.
In Utopia, Limited (1892 opera) by Gilbert and Sullivan, the entrance of the character Princess Zara, who is returning from her studies at Girton College, is heralded by a song called "Oh, maiden rich in Girton lore".
In The Turn of the Screw (1898 novella) by Henry James, the story's narrator, Douglas, describes first meeting the protagonist after coming down from Trinity College for the second summer of his university career.
The Longest Journey (1907 novel) by E. M. Forster begins at Cambridge University.
In the Psmith series (1908–1923 collection of novels) by P. G. Wodehouse, both the title character and Mike, his closest friend, study at Cambridge University.
In Women in Love (1920 novel) by D. H. Lawrence, the character Joshua is introduced at the dinner table as a Cambridge don. Over the course of the meal he explains, in accordance with the idiosyncratic stereotype, how "education is like gymnastics".
In Jacob's Room (1922 novel) by Virginia Woolf, the protagonist Jacob Flanders attends Cambridge.
In The Inimitable Jeeves (1923 Novel) by P. G. Wodehouse, protagonist Bertie Wooster accidentally gets engaged to a graduate of Girton College.
In A Passage to India (1924 novel) by E. M. Forster, the Indian Hamidullah refers to his time at Cambridge to support his argument that it is easier to be befriend Englishmen in England than in India.
In The Case of the Missing Will (1924 Short Story) by Agatha Christie, the detective Hercule Poirot receives an unusual request for help from a Miss Violet Marsh, a graduate of Girton College.
In The Good Companions (1929 Novel) by J. B. Priestley, the character Inigo Jollifant is introduced as a Cambridge graduate.
In The Waves (1931 novel) by Virginia Woolf, the characters Bernard and Neville are both graduates of Cambridge University.
Darkness at Pemberley (1932 novel) by T. H. White features St Bernard's College, a fictionalised version of Queens' College.
Glory (1932 novel) by Vladimir Nabokov is the story of an émigré student who escapes from Russia and is educated at Cambridge before returning to his native country.
In Sweet Danger (1933 novel) by Margery Allingham, a mini-biography reveals the famous sleuth Albert Campion to be a graduate of the fictional St Ignatius' College, Cambridge.
In The Citadel (1937 Novel) by A. J. Cronin, the protagonist's initial rival and close friend, Philip Denny, is a Cambridge graduate. Dr Hope, another of the protagonist's main associates, spends much of his time at Cambridge where he is completing a medical degree.
Out of the Silent Planet (1938 novel) by C. S. Lewis begins at Cambridge University, where Elwin Ransom, the protagonist of The Space Trilogy, is Professor of Philology. The trilogy also features the University of Edgestow, a fictional institution which is essentially a third Oxbridge.
In The Facts of Life (1939 Short Story) by W. Somerset Maugham, the main character Nicky attends Peterhouse due to its reputation in Lawn Tennis.
The Caterpillar and the Men from Cambridge (1943 poem) by Weldon Kees, is a satirical response to the teachings of Cambridge literary critics I. A. Richards and C. K. Ogden.
The Hills of Varna (1948 novel) by Geoffrey Trease begins with main character Alan Drayton being sent down from his Cambridge college after it emerges that he was involved in a tavern brawl. His Cambridge tutor, Erasmus, sends him to the continent to try to retrieve a manuscript of The Gadfly, a lost play by the ancient Greek writer Alexis from the time of Socrates.
The Masters (1951 novel) and The Affair (1960 Novel) by C. P. Snow, both feature an unnamed fictional college, partly based on the author's own, Christ's.
In To Sir, With Love (1959 novel) by E. R. Braithwaite, the protagonist is a Cambridge graduate.
In You Only Live Twice (1964 novel) by Ian Fleming, the famous spy James Bond is revealed to have graduated from Cambridge University with a First in Oriental Languages; in the film adaptation of The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Bond is again identified as a Cambridge graduate.
The Millstone (1965 Novel) by Margaret Drabble is the story of a young female Cambridge academic who becomes pregnant and is forced into a completely alien life style.
On Bed-Sitter Images (1967 album), Al Stewart's debut release, the final track, Beleeka Doodle Day, opens with the line "I could have gone to Cambridge with Lionel" and goes on to express a number of the singer's other regrets.
The House on the Strand (1969 novel) by Daphne du Maurier is the story of two Cambridge graduates who have created a drug that enables time travel. They frequently refer to their college days.
In many novels and plays by Thomas Bernhard (written between 1970 and 2006), Cambridge (Geistesnest) is the refuge of a Geistesmensch escaping from Austria.
Maurice (1971 novel) by E. M. Forster is about the homosexual relationship of two Cambridge undergraduates.
Cabaret (1972 film) by Bob Fosse is based on the works of Christopher Isherwood who attended Corpus Christi College. As a result, the university is referenced in the movie.
Porterhouse Blue (1974 novel) and its sequel Grantchester Grind (1995 Novel) by Tom Sharpe both feature Porterhouse, a fictional Cambridge college.
The Glittering Prizes (1976 TV drama) and Oxbridge Blues (1984 TV Drama) by Frederic Raphael both feature Cambridge University.
In Professional Foul (1977 Play) by Tom Stoppard, the main character, Anderson, is Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University.
Timescape (1980 novel) by Gregory Benford is the story of a group of scientists at the University of Cambridge and their attempts to warn the past about a series of global disasters that have left the world in a state of disarray. Benford's short story, Anomalies, is also set at Cambridge, where the main character, an amateur astronomer from Ely, meets the Master of Jesus College.
The unaired Doctor Who episode "Shada" (1980) shows the Fourth Doctor and his companion Romana in the fictional St. Cedd's College, which was filmed in Front Court, Emmanuel College. Footage of the pair punting by the backs from this episode was re-used in the twentieth anniversary episode, The Five Doctors (1983).
Chariots of Fire (1981 film) by Hugh Hudson is partly set at Cambridge between 1919 and 1924, when key characters Harold Abrahams (played by Ben Cross) and Aubrey Montague (Nicholas Farrell) were students there.
On the Beach at Cambridge (1984 poem) by Adrian Mitchell is written from the point of view of someone sitting on a beach and looking out to sea, where the remnants of Cambridge University, as represented by the trademark spires and towers of the colleges, may just about be seen above the water. The poem was written to draw attention to the dangers of climate change and rising sea levels.
In Bambi (1984), the first episode of the second series of The Young Ones, written by Ben Elton, Rik Mayall and Lise Mayer, the four main characters represent Scumbag College on University Challenge. The opposing team is Footlights College, Oxbridge, which consisted of Lord Monty (Hugh Laurie); Lord Snot (Stephen Fry, who had himself appeared on University Challenge while a student at Cambridge); Miss Money-Sterling (Emma Thompson); and Kendal Mintcake (Ben Elton). Three of the four Oxbridge contestants were played by actual Cambridge graduates who had been Footlights members during their time at the University.
Floating Down to Camelot (1985 novel) by David Benedictus is set entirely at Cambridge University and was inspired by the author's time at Churchill College.
Still Life (1985 novel) by A. S. Byatt features Cambridge University.
In Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (1987 Novel) by Douglas Adams, much of the action takes place at the fictional St. Cedd's College, Cambridge.
The Matthew Bartholomew Chronicles (1990s Novels) by Susanna Gregory, is a series of murder mysteries set in and around the university in medieval Cambridge.
Avenging Angel (1990 novel) by Kwame Anthony Appiah is largely set at the University.
Civilization (1991 Video Game) by Sid Meier features 'Isaac Newton's College' as a Wonder of the World. This could be a reference to Cambridge University as a whole or to Trinity College specifically. However, the video accompanying the wonder in Civilization II (1996) erroneously shows the University of Oxford.
Peter's Friends (1992 film), written by Rita Rudner and her husband Martin Bergman, and directed and produced by Kenneth Branagh, tells the story of a group of friends who used to be members of Cambridge University's comedy group Footlights.
For the Sake of Elena (1992 Novel) by Elizabeth George features a fictional Cambridge college called St Stephen's.
In Fever Pitch (1992 sports biography), Nick Hornby refers to his time at Jesus College, Cambridge.
In Stephen Fry's novels The Liar (1993) and Making History (1997), the main characters attend Cambridge University.
In A Philosophical Investigation (1992 Novel) by Philip Kerr, the government call on Cambridge's Professor of Philosophy to talk 'Wittgenstein', a murderous virtual being, into committing suicide.
In A Suitable Boy (1993 novel) by Vikram Seth, one of Lata's would-be suitors, a fellow college student, dreams of attending Cambridge University.
Jill Paton Walsh is the author of four detective stories featuring Imogen Quy, the nurse at St. Agatha's, a fictional Cambridge college: The Wyndham Case (1993), A Piece of Justice (1995), Debts of Dishonour (2006) and The Bad Quarto (2007).
All Good Things... (1994), the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, features the android character Data as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics in his Cambridge college rooms. An establishing location shot shows a futuristic version of the Cambridge University skyline around the year 2395.
In Bridget Jones's Diary (1996 novel) by Helen Fielding, Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy, who compete for Bridget's affection, are revealed to have been best friends at Cambridge.
Eskimo Day (1996 TV Drama), written by Jack Rosenthal, and starring Maureen Lipman, Tom Wilkinson, and Alec Guinness, is about the relationship between parents and teenagers during an admissions interview day at Queens’ College. There was also a sequel, Cold Enough for Snow (1997).
In The West Wing (1999–2006 TV series) by Aaron Sorkin, the character Will Bailey (played by Joshua Malina) claims to have attended Cambridge University on a Marshall Scholarship. He also claims he was "President of the Cambridge Union Society".
Sacha Baron Cohen's character Borat explores Cambridge University in his Guide to Britain (2000 TV series).
In When We Were Orphans (2000 novel) by Kazuo Ishiguro, the protagonist, Detective Christopher Banks, begins his narrative immediately after graduating from Cambridge.
In Atonement (2001 Novel) by Ian McEwan, the characters Cecilia and Robbie arrive home from Cambridge at the start of the novel.
Wittgenstein's Poker (2001 novel) by David Edmonds recounts the celebrated confrontation between Sir Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein at Cambridge University's Moral Sciences Club.
In The Da Vinci Code (2003 novel) by Dan Brown, the antagonistic Sir Leigh Teabing is a proud Cambridge graduate.
Cambridge Spies (2003 TV Drama) is about the famous Cambridge Five double agents who started their careers at Cambridge: Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and Anthony Blunt.
The History Boys (2004 play) by Alan Bennett, focuses on students in the north of England preparing for Oxbridge entrance exams as used until the mid-1980s.
High Table, Lower Orders (2005–2006 radio series) by Mark Tavener is set at a fictional Cambridge college.
In Starter for 10 (2006 film), written by David Nicholls, directed by Tom Vaughan, and starring James McAvoy, the main characters represent the University of Bristol in a University Challenge game against Queens' College, Cambridge – the team that beat them the previous year.
In Night at the Museum (2006 film), directed by Shawn Levy and starring Ben Stiller and Robin Williams, the Egyptian pharaoh Ahkmenrah claims to speak perfect English as a result of his time in a display cabinet at Cambridge University.
In Rock 'n Roll (2006 play) by Tom Stoppard, Cambridge University is a key setting.
In That Mitchell and Webb Look (2006–2010 TV series) a recurring sketch features an absurd gameshow known as Numberwang which professes to originate from Cambridge University's "Department of Numbers".
In Lewis (2006–2011 TV series), inspired by the novels of Colin Dexter, the Detective Sergeant James Hathaway is a Cambridge graduate.
A Disappearing Number (2007 play) by Simon McBurney is about a famous collaboration between two very different Cambridge scholars: Srinivasa Ramanujan, a poor, self-taught Brahmin from southern India, and G. H. Hardy, an upper-class Englishman and world-renowned Professor of Mathematics.
The Indian Clerk (2007 novel) by David Leavitt is an account of the career of the self-taught mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan, as seen mainly through the eyes of his mentor and collaborator G. H. Hardy, a British mathematics professor at Cambridge University.
Engleby (2007 novel) by Sebastian Faulks is largely set at a fictionalised version of Cambridge University. From the description of the eponymous protagonist's college in the opening chapter, one can tentatively suggest that he attends Emmanuel College, of which Faulks is an alumnus.
On his mixtape, No Ceilings (2009), Rapper Lil Wayne references Cambridge University in the song "Ice Cream Paint Job".
At the start of the film adaptation of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010), based on the novel by C. S. Lewis and directed by Michael Apted, an establishing location shot features King's College.