This work presents a composite view of medieval English university life. The author offers detailed insights into the social and economic conditions of the lives of students, their teaching masters and fellows. The experiences of college benefactors, women and university servants are also examined, demonstrating the vibrancy they brought to university life. The second half of the book is concerned with the complex methods of teaching and learning, the regime of studies taught, the relationship between the universities in Oxford and Cambridge, as well as the relationship between “town” and “gown”.
The book is published by The Ohio State University Press.
Meticulously researched, even colorful narrative. The book does get weighed down at places and can be a difficult listen. I had to replay parts. But still a great book
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sure this subject isn't about knights in shining armor winning glory and renown accross Europe's battlefields, nor is it the exciting chronicles of the monarchs of England-its about life in a university town in the Middle Ages. Its a quiet subject but its quite colorful. Cobban does an excellent job of presenting the material in a way that brings the period to life again. There is a lot of detail but its not tedious. Cobban has very stringent standards as to what he will consider useful historical data, so there is very little speculation here. I feel I can trust his sources for veracity. The book takes patience, but you will be well rewarded with a really vivid and intimate glimpse into a facet of life in the Middle Ages
This book does not lend itself to a performance. It is not a bad book per se, but it is a book of historical reference rather than popular history. It is heavy on the details of the historical evidence and doesn't put it across in a way that is engaging or informative to the average layman. If it is a subject that seriously interests you, then the book is best read in print. I struggled to complete it as I only had a casual interest in the subject.
The performance was appalling. It was read in a steady monotone and is not recommended whilst driving. The pronunciation is awful with names, colleges, and places and even ordinary words all mangled with equal verve.
I must start by saying that I found this audiobook very interested. But having been associated with three old Oxbridge colleges in different capacities, I probably have more interest than most -- I have always wondered what life was like there in medieval times. And the listener has to be genuinely interested to pursue this audiobook. First the reading -- dreadful! Surely a precursor to reading this book is to learn how to pronounce the names of the Oxford and Cambridge colleges.......any tricky ones were mispronounced. I managed to let this flow over me but it was quite distracting. For the content -- really this is a book for specialists. It is rather rambling and fails to make any link with modern Oxford and Cambridge Universities. For example there is a lot of discussion of The King's Hall. Using wikipedia I discovered that this later formed part of Trinity College but it is not mentioned in the book. And I was very disappointed that there was no final chapter discussing later developments. But many aspects were fascinating, e.g. the way in which college based teaching came to dominate university teaching. So I recommend this audiobook, but not to the casual listener.