Quiz: What’s in a University name?

2 12 2016

An exciting university quiz

Musing, as you do, about the names of universities, I was struck by how many North American universities are named after people, often major benefactors such as:

  • McGill University
  • Harvard
  • McMaster University
  • Oral Roberts University
  • Wright State University (always makes me laugh that one)
  • Dartmouth
  • Babson College
  • Hofstra
  • Vassar
  • Brigham Young University
  • Cornell University
  • Stanford
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Brown University
  • Johns Hopkins
Orville & Wilbur Wright - so clever they had a university named after them

Orville & Wilbur Wright – so clever they had a university named after them

 

But what about the UK universities?

I can think of three which include the names of benefactors and 13 which are named wholly or in part after someone (plus a 14th in this group which no longer exists).

Can you name them?

Answers below

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I could originally only think of three UK universities which include the name of a principal benefactor in their title but actually now I’ve come up with six:
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • Heriot Watt University
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Birkbeck, University of London
  • Harper Adams University
  • Courtauld Institute, University of London
Any advances on these six?
I originally had 13 more with individuals’ names in their titles. List on further consideration is now 20:
  • Leeds Beckett University
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • King’s College London
  • Robert Gordon University
  • University of St Andrews
  • York St John University
  • Brunel University
  • De Montfort University
  • Napier University
  • Newman University
  • Queen Margaret University
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • Bishop Grosseteste University
  • Regent’s (debatable as named after Regent’s Park which was originally named after the Prince Regent, later King George IV)
  • Canterbury Christ Church University
  • University of St Mark and St John (2 for the price of 1)
  • St Mary’s University
  • University of Wales Trinity St David
(Plus there was the Victoria University of Manchester until 2004.)
Any others? Note have excluded constituent colleges of collegiate universities.

 





Life’s a beach

12 11 2016

Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd

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In the heart of a civil war torn African nation, primate researcher Hope Clearwater made a shocking discovery about apes and man. . . .

Young, alone, and far from her family in Britain, Hope Clearwater contemplates the extraordinary events that left her washed up like driftwood on Brazzaville Beach. It is here, on the distant, lonely outskirts of Africa, where she must come to terms with the perplexing and troubling circumstances of her recent past. For Hope is a survivor of the devastating cruelties of apes and humans alike. And to move forward, she must first grasp some hard and elusive truths: about marriage and madness, about the greed and savagery of charlatan science, and about what compels seemingly benign creatures to kill for pleasure alone.

It’s an intelligent, well-written and nicely paced story. Not sure that the apes and humans parallels really work but nevertheless it is entertaining and worth a read.

stars-3-5.

 





A matter of life and death

5 11 2016

The Life and Times of Michael K by J M Coetzee

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In a South Africa turned by war, Michael K. sets out to take his ailing mother back to her rural home. On the way there she dies, leaving him alone in an anarchic world of brutal roving armies. Imprisoned, Michael is unable to bear confinement and escapes, determined to live with dignity. This life affirming novel goes to the center of human experience-the need for an interior, spiritual life; for some connections to the world in which we live; and for purity of vision.

A quite outstanding piece of work. Genuinely profound, moving and poignant. Can’t believe it’s taken me quite so long to get round to reading it. Very highly recommended (as indeed are most of Coetzee’s books).

4.5 stars





Ghostly writing

22 10 2016

The Ghost by Robert Harris

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A body washes up on the deserted coastline of America’s most exclusive holiday retreat. But it’s no open-and-shut case of suicide. The death of Robert McAra is just the first piece of the jigsaw in an extraordinary plot that will shake the very foundations of international security.

For McAra was a man who knew too much. As ghostwriter to one of the most controversial men on the planet – Britain’s former prime minister, holed up in a remote ocean-front house to finish his memoirs – he stumbled across secrets which cost him his life.

When a new ghostwriter is sent out to rescue the project it could be the opportunity of a lifetime. Or the start of a deadly assignment propelled by deception and intrigue – from which there will be no escape…

It’s a great premise for a novel and the stories on offer to a ghostwriter to a former Prime Minister provide lots of opportunities for political intrigue as well as more deadly goings on. It’s a gripping read, as ever, from Robert Harris and highly recommended.

four stars





Monastical mayhem

15 10 2016

Dissolution by C J Sansom

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It is 1537, a time of revolution that sees the greatest changes in England since 1066. Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church. The country is waking up to savage new laws, rigged trials and the greatest network of informers ever seen. And under the orders of Thomas Cromwell, a team of commissioners is sent throughout the country to investigate the monasteries. There can only be one outcome: dissolution.

But on the Sussex coast, at the monastery of Scarnsea, events have spiralled out of control. Cromwell’s Commissioner, Robin Singleton, has been found dead, his head severed from his body. His horrific murder is accompanied by equally sinister acts of sacrilege.

Matthew Shardlake, lawyer and long-time supporter of Reform, has been sent by Cromwell to uncover the truth behind the dark happenings at Scarnsea. But investigation soon forces Shardlake to question everything that he hears, and everything that he intrinsically believes . . .

Have avoided this for a long time because the whole premise just seemed a bit unlikely but, having enjoyed Winter in Madrid, I thought I would give it a go. Anyway, it’s an intelligent and well-written and entertaining whodunnit with a strong Wolf Hall flavour and no worse for that. And there aren’t many books which carry an endorsement from The Tablet on the cover…

stars-3-5.





Nighty night

8 10 2016

The Night Manager by John le Carré

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At the start of it all, Jonathan Pine is merely the night manager at a luxury hotel. But when a single attempt to pass on information to the British authorities – about an international businessman at the hotel with suspicious dealings – backfires terribly, and people close to Pine begin to die, he commits himself to a battle against powerful forces he cannot begin to imagine.

In a chilling tale of corrupt intelligence agencies, billion-dollar price tags and the truth of the brutal arms trade, John le Carré creates a claustrophobic world in which no one can be trusted.

There are quite a few differences to the recent Hiddleston-led TV adaptation but the basic plot is pretty similar and the whole tale is equally gripping. Entertaining stuff.

four stars





Middle class hero

1 10 2016

Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis

 

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The word “Babbitt” entered the English language as a “person and especially a business or professional man who conforms unthinkingly to prevailing middle-class standards”. If Lewis’s first widely acclaimed novel, Main Street, sought to shatter early-20th-century romanticizations of small-town America, his next work, Babbitt, turned a critical eye towards the celebrated midsize industrial city, home to the enterprising American businessman. After the social instability and sharp economic depression that emerged in the wake of World War I, many Americans in the 1920s saw business and city growth as foundations for stability. The civic boosters and self-made men of the middle-class represented particularly American depictions of success, at a time when the promotion of the American identity was crucial in the face of rising fears of communism. At the same time, growing Midwestern cities, usually associated with mass production and the emergence of a consumer society, were also celebrated emblems of American progress. George F. Babbitt, the novel’s main character, is described by the 1930 Nobel Prize committee as “the ideal of an American popular hero of the middle-class. The relativity of business morals as well as private rules of conduct is for him an accepted article of faith, and without hesitation he considers it God’s purpose that man should work, increase his income, and enjoy modern improvements.”

A striking satire of American culture, society, and behaviour in the 1920s it comprehensively chronicles the vacuity of middle-class American life and the pressure to conform. At some length, it has to be said. Published in 1922 and a bestseller at the time it apparently contributed significantly to the decision to award Lewis the Nobel Prize for literature in 1930.

 

stars-3-5








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