Page 52. " The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones. "

This quotation is from William Skakespeare’s Julius Caesar (1599). The character of Mark Anthony speaks this line in Act III, scene ii.

Page 52. " Judas Iscariot it is who outstands, overshadowing those other fishermen. "




Judas Iscariot was the apostle who betrayed Jesus Christ for a reward of thirty pieces of silver. Filled with remorse, Judas took his own life, but his betrayal has caused his name to become synonymous with traitor.


Page 53. " the news of Chalgrove Field "
Merton College
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumMerton College - Credit: M.L. Costa

The Battle of Chalgrove Field was fought in Oxfordshire during the English Civil War (1642-1651). It was considered a victory for the Royalists.


During the English Civil War, King Charles I (1600-1649), who was ultimately defeated and beheaded by the Parliamentarians, took refuge in Oxford, temporarily setting up court in the city.


Ironically, although Judas College is thought to have been based on Merton College, Merton was the only college to have sided with the Parliamentarians during the Civil War. Thus, members of the college moved to London while the king was in residence in Oxford, and the buildings of Merton were commandeered by the Royalists to house some of the king’s courtiers.

Page 56. " the captain of his soul "

This refers to the final line of the poem “Invictus” by the English poet, William Ernest Henley (1849-1903).


“Invictus” was written in 1875, but it first appeared in print in 1888.

Page 62. " As they turned into Radcliffe Square, the Duke's ear caught the sound of a far-distant gun. He started, and looked up at the clock of St. Mary's. "
The Radcliffe Camera
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumThe Radcliffe Camera - Credit: M.L. Costa

Radcliffe Square, named in honour of the Royal Physician John Radcliffe (1652-1714), is a central square in the city of Oxford.


In the middle of the square stands the Radcliffe Camera, an iconic building designed in the English Palladian Style by the influential architect, James Gibbs (1682-1754).


Surrounding the Radcliffe Camera are the buildings of All Souls College, Brasenose College, the Bodleian Library, and the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. The tower of St. Mary’s enjoys one of the most extensive views of the city.     




Page 62. " The Duke looked up at the tower of Merton "
Tower of Merton College
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeTower of Merton College - Credit: Peter Trimming

The great tower of Merton College was completed in 1450. It is generally regarded as a smaller version of the later built Magdalen Great Tower.


Merton College, founded by and named for Walter de Merton (c.1205-1277), is one of the oldest colleges of the University. In fact Merton College, Balliol College, and University College vie on different grounds for the title of the oldest surviving college in Oxford.




Page 62. " the tower of Magdalen, its rightful bride "
Magdalen College's Tower
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMagdalen College's Tower - Credit: Steve Daniels

Magdalen Great Tower, which is reminiscent of Merton College’s tower, was built between 1492 and 1509, during the reign of Henry VII (1457-1509). The bell tower’s appearance is characteristic of late medieval gothic architecture.


In part due to its height, the tower, which was designed by William Orchard (fl. 1468-1504), is one of the most famous structures on the Oxford skyline. Since its earliest days, the tower has been the site of traditional May Morning celebrations, which begin at 6 a.m. on 1 May with a service from atop the tower.  


Magdalen College, named for Saint Mary Magdalene but pronounced “Maudlyn,” was founded in 1458, but its architecture is representative of many different periods. The college is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful. Unusually, the extensive grounds include a deer park.


Magdalen College is often mentioned in novels that feature Oxford. The fictional characters of Bertie Wooster from the P.G. Wodehouse novels, Tibby from E.M. Forster’s Howards End (1910), and Bridey from Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited (1945) all studied at the college. The writers Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) and C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) are also associated with Magdalen College.


Magdalen College, Oxford is sometimes confused with Magdalene College, Cambridge, but the name of the later differs in spelling and pronunciation. The names of several of the colleges at the two universities are similar or the same. Both universities have a Trinity College, a St John's College and a Jesus College. 



Page 62. " Christ Church meadow "
Oxford from Christ Church Meadow
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeOxford from Christ Church Meadow - Credit: Bryan Pready

Christ Church Meadow is  bordered by the rivers Isis and Cherwell, and by Merton College and Christ Church. It is the location of many of the college boathouses, and the university’s main rowing events are held here.


The meadow is owned by Christ Church, one of the largest colleges of the university. The college was established in the sixteenth century; initially, Thomas Wolsey (c.1473-1530) founded Cardinal College here, but Wolsey fell from the grace of Henry VIII (1491-1547), who re-established the college in 1546 as Christ Church.


Founded by one king of England, it later served as the home and parliament of another, King Charles I (1600-1649), during the English Civil War (1642-1651).


The college has the distinction of being the site of Christ Church Cathedral, the cathedral church of the diocese of Oxford. Above the Great Quadrangle stands the college’s famous bell tower, Tom Tower, built in 1681-1682 and designed by Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723).


Page 64. " True, the place is no longer one-sexed. There are the virguncules of Somerville and Lady Margaret's Hall "
Somerville College
GNU Free Documentation LicenseSomerville College - Credit: Philip Allfrey

Women were not permitted to be full members of the University or take full degrees until 1920, but they were permitted some form of education at the University from 1875.


Lady Margaret Hall, established in 1878, and Somerville College, established in 1879, were the first two colleges for women in the university. In 1886 St. Hugh’s College was established, and in 1893 St. Hilda’s College was added to the list. Founded first as halls, they were only granted full collegiate status in 1959.


All the colleges of the University of Oxford have now become co-educational.  


Page 67. " Ah, that is an unfortunate trick which I caught from a writer, a Mr. Beerbohm, who once sat next to me at dinner somewhere. "

It is characteristic of Max Beerbohm’s jesting style to take the unusual step of mentioning himself in his own novel.


As a writer, Beerbohm is known as an essayist, critic, and parodist. His first book, The Works of Max Beerbohm (1896), was a collection of his essays, but touches of humour dominate even his serious literary works.


Berbohm, like many humorists, conveyed serious messages through humour. For example, it has sometimes been suggested that his first published short story, The Happy Hypocrite: A Fairytale for Tired Men (1897), is a comic version of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). Through his theatrical half-brother, Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1852-1917), Max Beerbohm met Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), and Beerbohm wrote one of his earliest articles was about Wilde.


Page 74. " all the Wagnerian orchestras of Europe, with the Straussian ones thrown in, were here to clash in unison "

The German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) is best known for his highly dramatic and lengthy operas. Among the admirers of Wagner’s work was Ludwig II of Bavaria (1846-1886), who decorated the rooms of his mountain-top Gothic Revival palace, Schloss Neuschwanstein, to recreate the settings of Wagner’s operas, even crafting a cave in one room.


Richard Strauss (1864-1949), another Romantic German composer, was heavily influenced by Wagner. His famous opera Der Rosenkavalier was first performed in 1911, the year of Zuleika Dobson's publication.

Listen of Der Rosenkavalier