Cambridge: A Cultural History
From its origins in the thirteenth century the University of Cambridge has attracted many notable students and teachers, both brilliant and eccentric. From Erasmus to Bertrand Russell and Wittgenstein, the university has been at the forefront of philosophical inquiry. Actors and directors like Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Peter Hall have earned Cambridge a reputation for theatrical excellence, while the colleges have been home to an extraordinary list of poets, including Milton and Wordsworth, Byron and Tennyson, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. During the twentieth century the city surrounding the university grew rapidly as a once small fenland town became a magnet for high-tech industries. As the Science Park and Business Park thrived, property prices and traffic congestion increased. But there are still quiet courts and green spaces—Parker's Piece, Midsummer Common, Jesus Green, and the Backs. Here is to be found Henry James' confusion of Gothic windows and ancient trees, of grassy banks and mossy balustrades, of sun-chequered avenues and groves, of lawns and gardens and terraces. Martin Garrett explores the buildings and streets of Cambridge, revealing the literature, history and personalities of this culturally rich city. • The University city: courts and gardens, dons and students; Cambridge poets and spies; the struggle for women's colleges and degrees. • The city of science and discovery: Newton, Darwin, the Cambridge physicists, the double helix, Stephen Hawking and secrets of the universe • The city of drama and comedy: from Latin entertainments for Elizabeth I to the Footlights and Monty Python.
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