Lincoln College

Edward Thomas (1878 - 1917)

'..The explanation of time and heart'

At sunset or dawn the city's place in the world, as a beautiful thing, is clearest. Few cities look other than sad at these hours; many, unless hid in their own smoke, look cheap. Oxford becomes part of the magic of sunset and dawn- is, as it were, gathered into the bosom of the power that is abroad.

Thus wrote Edward Thomas in his book, Oxford, in 1903. I suspect anyone who has experienced an Oxford dawn can relate to what he says; the poet and prose writer-turned-soldier may have been at Lincoln over a hundred years ago, but some things have not changed, and the city's spell-binding beauty is one. Thomas' book on the city bears testament to the awe that the three years he spent here, as a History scholar from 1898 to 1900, inspired in him. Its poeticism makes it much more than simple description of the city and university; at points it reads as a nostalgic reminiscence by its author; at others, as a panegyric of the environment which was so influential in shaping Thomas as a man, as a writer of prose, and as a poet.