Oxford….Here I come!

Well, it is a good thing that I did my grading and necessary prep work early yesterday morning, because I was absolutely worthless after about 11:00 AM when I heard from Bread Loaf that I got my first choice classes in Oxford this summer!  Oh my word — my head has been swimming ever since.  I ordered my books, researched airfare (ouch!  it is expensive), looked into the EuroStar for a quick weekend jaunt to Paris (I am so close — it would be ridiculous NOT to go, right?!) and just daydreamed the day away.

Now true to my style, I applied to this campus without giving a lot of thought to the true meaning of this “adventure” – because if I analyzed the decision too much I would have chickened out.  So here I am – accepted and ….I guess…..going.  Once I started ordering the books, however, the reality set in.  WHAT ON EARTH HAVE I SIGNED UP FOR!!  The school requests mandates that you pre-read all material before arriving on campus.  Since the course I am taking fulfills a requirement for both British literature post 1700 and American literature, my reading list is extensive!

  • The Ryme of the Ancient Mariner (Coleridge) – 20 pages
  • Moby Dick (Melville) – 656 pages
  • The Prelude and The Thorn (Wordsworth) – 223 pages
  • Walden (Thoreau) – 448 pages
  • Song of Myself (Whitman) – 40 pages
  • Frankenstein (Shelley) – 328 pages
  • Edgar Huntley (Brown) – 320 pages
  • William Wilson and The Fall of the House of Usher (Poe) – 35 pages
  • The Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne) – 272 pages
  • The Mill on the Floss (Eliot) – 576 pages
  • The House of Mirth (Wharton) – 368 pages
This is the equivalent of approximately 3300 pages, give or take a few, between now and June 27th when I travel across the pond to Lincoln College, Oxford.
Boy – it is a good thing that Spring break is in less than two weeks – the Spring read-athon is in about a month  – and I will have a good 4-5 weeks between the end of school (May 15) and the day I leave (June 27).  I tend to be well-organized and goal driven, so I anticipate that I will complete the reading list in time (now….whether I have fully annotated and properly analyzed passages will be the $64,000 question).  Obviously there won’t be much time for the reading of contemporary literature during this time, but hopefully you won’t mind a few reviews of some classic 19th Century literature from my cozy nook.
Anyway, I wanted to share my joyful news with you – my dear readers. And, for those of you who live near or around Oxford, would you like care to meet at a local pub sometime in July?  My treat!


  • JoAnn

    Congratulations, Molly….I am SO excited for you!! The reading list is daunting, but I know that not only will you make your way through it in time, you'll enjoy (at least most of) it. Looking forward to following your adventures, as always.


    Challenging reading list. I've already read and studied most of those works but I'd need to re-read them to be ready for such an important course in such a unique university. I'd love to be there with you next summer but … being a teacher, a very busy one- like you – I too would be anxious in front of that list! Good luck!
    P.S. No spring break for us, only a 6-days' holiday at Easter. Enjoy your reading!

  • Vivienne

    Congratulaitons Molly. You are coming to our wee country. I have only ever been to Oxford once,but it was a very beautiful place. Very typically old style England. I hope you have a fabulous time whilst in England. Good luck with all that reading.

  • Hannah Stoneham

    that sounds great – hope you have a good time. Given your reading you might like to see the Sheley memorial which is inside University College on the High Street – if you ask in the lodge the will probably let you see it…. enjoy all your reading!


  • Meghan

    Congratulations, Molly! That's wonderful news. I still haven't managed to get to Oxford, but have no idea where I'll be living in June or July, so I'm not sure I'd be able to get there when you're there. If I'm working, however, and have the money, I'd love to head over there and meet you, so we'll have to keep in touch. =)

    Good luck with all your reading! I loved The Mill on the Floss and The House of Mirth, so hopefully you'll enjoy it even if it's stressful.

    Meghan @ Medieval Bookworm

  • farmlanebooks

    I live close to Oxford – I would love to meet up with you if you have time to squeeze it into your busy schedule – I know how busy time away can be.

    My email address is jackie (at) farmlanebooks (dot) co (dot) uk

    let me know if yu fancy meeting up. It would be great to see you!

  • Anonymous

    Molly, how marvelous! congratulations! You know, you'll have time for contemporary stuff later. Take care and don't worry if you don't get around here often. We will know that you are busily studying away. Again, mega congrats!!

  • C.B. James

    Good for you. This sounds wonderful. Personally, I'd love a few reviews of 19th century literature. I hope you'll post about your time in Oxford while you're there, too. I'd love to hear about it.

  • Bree

    OMG how exciting!!!! So jealous. But I'd do without the required reading 🙁 too time consuming. Oh what fun you are going to have in England. yippee 🙂

  • Kaye

    Oh Molly, this is such wonderful news. I know this has been a dream for you and now it is reality.
    Don't even think about NOT going to Paris, you are so close it would be sin not to visit.

    Interesting list of books – I love the Ryme of the Ancient Mariner. Have fun making your plans and anticipating your visit. I'm thrilled for you!

  • Aarti

    How exciting!! I have always wanted to do one of the Oxford summer courses- maybe after I retire 😉 SO many books to read, too! I am really happy for you 🙂

  • Kathleen

    Congratulations Molly! That is incredibly exciting news. I look forward to reading all of the review between now and June and of course I am sure you will blog all about your experience while at Oxford. P.S I think you have to fit in a short trip to France!

  • Kathrin

    Congrats! I'm so happy for you to get your 1st choice classes. I know you will have an awesome time in Oxford. So glad you decided to do it!

    Btw, if you really make it to Paris, let me know in advance and I might take a train there as well. I'm even offering up my French, in case you need it 😉 (I'm in Frankfurt, Germany.)

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations – this is so exciting. An intimidating list, but some wonderful books.Once you're into it you'll have a fabulous time!

  • kikiv68

    Felicidades Molly! That's congratulations in Spanish. I am so excited for you and you must keep up with your blog when you are there. We do not want to miss anything, specially Paris. I am also a teacher and will have another "Staycation" so let's just say I will enjoy my summer vacation thru you!

  • Thomas at My Porch

    Congratulations. You are going to have a fantastic time. And yes, you do have to go to Paris on EuroStar. Worth every penny.

    That is a challenging reading list, but some of it is really enjoyable. Frankenstein is a quick read, Whitman is extremely accessible and one of my favorite poets, House of Mirth is wonderful, and Mill on the Floss is pretty good, but definitely a little more work than some of the others. Moby Dick and Scarlet Letter would be the biggest challenges for me. I have tried to read both on several occasions and haven't been able to do it. And I might be one of the few people you kind of know who has actually read Edgar Huntly. I enjoyed it when I had to read it for my American Studies MA.

    You will have plenty of great things to blog about that is for sure.

  • Thomas at My Porch

    One more thing, when you are researching airfares, you should look at the website http://www.itasoftware.com. They don't sell tickets, but it is a really good search engine to find airfare prices, routes, options etc. It asks you to sign in, but you don't need to, you can search it as a guest. Then when you find what you like go directly to the airline website and book with them. Much better than booking through Expedia or other sites like that. (Unless you go for a consolidator ticket, which is a whole different story.)

  • Jenners

    Woo hoo! I'm so excited for you!!! (But I'm not jealous of that reading list!!). This is a wonderful opportunity for you, and I'm so happy. And DO got to Paris … it would be incredibly silly not to!


  • Michelle

    Congratulations again! You are going to have so much fun. Definitely do Paris. It remains one of my biggest regrets that I lived in Germany for three years and never went to Paris (or England for that matter). And get reading! I'm sure that you will have no problems finishing them all before you go.

  • ds

    Congratulations, Molly!!! Yes, do post on your 19th century reading, do go to Paris and please update us on your progress in England. I am so excited for you (and yes, a bit jealous, but you have earned this)! You will have a wonderful summer.

  • Lisa

    Sooo excited for you! We will love to hear about your reading in prep, especially because we'll know it's you getting that much closer to Oxford!

  • Kim

    How very exciting! (good thing you can't see me turning green with envy!) I guess we know what you will be reading in the weeks to come–that is a lot, but I have every confidence that you will accomplish your goal. What a fantastic opportunity for you!

  • Margot at Joyfully Retired

    I've been away and not able to keep up on reading blogs. Thanks God for my Reader or I would have missed this good news. I am so glad for you Molly. Your going is so magical it's as if we all are sharing it with you. I'm sure you will find a way to tackle the reading list. Just keep thinking about walking the campus at Oxford – how amazing is that!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: