‘Removed to the University’ (1738–43)

Wilfrid Prest

in William Blackstone

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199550296
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720925 | DOI:
 ‘Removed to the University’ (1738–43)

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This chapter explores Blackstone's undergraduate days as a student at Pembroke College in the University of Oxford. The distinctive character of that college and the reasons for his enrolment there are discussed, together with the constitution, poor public image, and complex educational reality of the unreformed collegiate university. The chapter proceeds to consider Blackstone's undergraduate studies, first in Arts, then in Civil (or Roman) Law, and his intellectual interests as manifested by evidence of the books he acquired, and his early use of the Bodleian Library. After clarifying the significance of Blackstone's admission as a student of the Middle Temple in 1741, the chapter concludes with a discussion of three major literary projects which he undertook during those years: a volume of poems and translations (now known only through a catalogue reference), a treatise on architecture, and an anonymously-published verse essay in comparative religion.

Keywords: Pembroke College; Oxford; undergraduate; civil law; poetry; religion; books; Bodleian; Middle Temple; architecture

Chapter.  10420 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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