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My Two Oxfords

My Two Oxfords

Willie Morris
Wood engravings by John DePol
Afterword by JoAnne Prichard Morris
Photograph by David Rae Morris
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 32
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  • Book Info
    My Two Oxfords
    Book Description:

    One of America's most beloved authors and a master of the personal essay, Willie Morris (1934-1999) wrote nineteen books and hundreds of articles and reflections. To honor his memory on the seventy-fifth anniversary of his birth (November 29, 1934),My Two Oxfordsis a special edition of one of these choice essays.

    In this piece, he addresses the quirky circumstance of having lived in "two of the world's most disparate places." There were two Oxfords in his life-Oxford University in England where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar in the 1950s and Oxford, Mississippi, the home of University of Mississippi, where he was writer in residence when he wrote the essay.

    Among the obvious contrasts between the two places, Morris finds complexity: "The legendary beauty of the Ole Miss coed is not myth. The girls of Oxford, England, so stringently screened by some of the world's most demanding academic requirements, were often dour; yet the occasional warm-spirited beauty among them was always worth the waiting . . . By the same token, the intellectual Ole Miss sorority girl of good and gentle disposition is a joyous song in the heart and will endure."

    This essay is quintessential Morris-lyrical and evocative, a blend of personal experience and memory, history, a strong sense of place, and a bit of whimsy. A foreword by JoAnne Prichard Morris and a photograph by David Rae Morris make this edition a must-have for Willie Morris's many fans.

    eISBN: 978-1-60473-888-9
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. [My Two Oxfords]
    (pp. 1-20)

    I AM A SINGULAR CREATURE, among the handful who has dwelled for any length of time in two of the world’s disparate places—the Oxford in England and the Oxford in Mississippi. On the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Mississippi one, I address myself to the subject. May I suggest there are similarities, but not all that many?

    Still, it has always struck me as poignant that the white settlers who first came to this spot in the red hills of northeast Mississippi in the 1820s and 1830s, cleared the piney woods and made churches and...

    (pp. 21-25)
    JoAnne Prichard Morris

    To read Willie Morris is to enter his world—his life, really—where an astonishing array of experiences, fully lived and intensely felt, merge with a capacious reservoir of knowledge and understanding and a brilliant memory. Willie wrote, as he lived, with everything he had. In his essays and in his nonfiction books, experience is observed through the lens of history—both its sweep and its arcane minutiae—and punctuated by literary illusion, political insight, friendship, love of sports, and humor, all of it grounded in an abiding sense of place and burnished with the seductive elegance of the language....

  4. Back Matter
    (pp. 26-26)