By Denys Arthur Winstanley
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2009
Online Publication Date:September 2010
Original Publication Year:1935
Subjects: British History after 1450
This vintage book by the distinguished historian D.A. Winstanley describes Cambridge University in the eighteenth century, a period supposedly characterised by lazy, drunken students, academics preoccupied with their own advancement, and institutionalised resistance to reform. Winstanley's objective was to discover how such a state of affairs came about, and was able to continue for so long. His book is a gold-mine of facts, anecdotes and contemporary descriptions of life at Cambridge. The author explains how Fellows and Professors were elected, how students chose their colleges, and how teaching was organised. Fellows were not permitted to marry, and graduation involved assenting to Anglicanism. There are accounts of bribery, blackmail and brawls. However, amid the morass of 'torpidity', energetic and right-thinking individuals emerged to challenge the status quo and promote educational and institutional reforms.