This passage describes the inner quadrangle of the main building of the Bodleian Library. Known by students as “The Bod,” it is the principal library of the University of Oxford. The library was named for its founder, Thomas Bodley (1545-1613), who had attended Magdalen College. He also became a fellow at Merton College.
The ghost of Thomas Bodley is said to watch over the library of Merton College. Tired students repeatedly claim that they see Bodley’s kindly spirit passing through the bookshelves to guard the books he endowed to the college.