2013 Oxford Programme
“The Tempest of the Times: The Dilemma of Catholic England”
August 5-26, 2013
The Centre for Faith & Culture’s Oxford Programme is a three week intensive course in examining the history, literature, and spirituality of Catholic Britain from its flowering in the late middle ages through the period of destruction and persecution, and into its refulgence in the modern age. Over the course of the programme, students will:
- Learn about the position of Catholics in England since the late Middle Ages.
- Examine the vocation of the Catholic writer in witnessing to Christ in a hostile environment.
- Gain an understanding of the importance of the imagination.
- Wrestle with the deeper question of what it means to be human, how a vision of humanity was imperilled by the English Reformation which helped to create the modern world, and how the writers of the 19th- and 20th-century Catholic revival tried to recover and reclaim it.
While in England, the course concentrates on the historical and cultural roots of the Catholic Literary Revival in England, through the lens of John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkien, and their circle of friends. The programme’s interest is in the biographies, historical context, influence, main ideas, and very different writing styles of these representative figures. Other writers who may be discussed include Coventry Patmore, Caryll Houselander, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Hilaire Belloc, and Christopher Dawson.
The full 2013 Oxford Programme will begin at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack. The one-week preparatory session readies students intellectually and spiritually for the two week Oxford portion of the program. Students will attend lectures and seminars directed by Thomas More College fellows and learn the influence of British culture on New England.
The remainder of the program will be held in Oxford, whose history reflects the “tempest of the times”—from the medieval era to our own days. Participants will:
- Tour the Oxford University sites associated with J.H. Newman and J.R.R. Tolkien, including a guided walking tour of the relevant colleges and churches, Tolkien’s grave, C.S. Lewis’s house The Kilns, and Newman’s retreat centre at Littlemore where he was received into the Catholic Church in 1845.
- Visit a recusant house where priests could be hidden during the time of persecution.
- Travel to London to watch a performance of The Tempest at the Globe Theatre, as well as visiting Westminster Abbey and St Thomas More’s cell in the Tower of London.
- Visit the G.K. Chesterton Library in Oxford, which houses books, drawings, and memorabilia associated with the great writer.
- Have access to any distinguished museums in Oxford, the University Parks and the Botanical Gardens beloved by Tolkien.
Meet the Tutors
The first Oxford tutor will be Lady Clare Asquith, Countess of Oxford and author of Shadowplay, a book which traces the Catholic experience through the poems and plays of William Shakespeare. She will be focusing on both The Merchant of Venice and The Tempest.
Other tutors include Dr Michael Ward, celebrated author of Planet Narnia and an expert on the Inklings, and Stratford and Léonie Caldecott the directors of the Centre and Second Spring Oxford Ltd.
Students attending the full programme will receive 6 credit hours in either Literature, History, Politics, or Theology.
The course employs combination of seminar-style lectures, tutorials, guided tours, discussions and conversation. An essay topic will be determined during the first two weeks in England. Tutorials will concentrate on the development of this essay. The essay can be completed after the students return to the US and emailed to tutors for marking by last day of October, 2013.
Before their two weeks in Britain, students will attend lectures and seminars at Thomas More College in New Hampshire. This period will provide time to make progress in the require reading list and obtain a solid background in the literature and history of Catholic society in the British Isles from its origins through its destruction in the 17th century. Studies in Oxford concentrate on the designated theme for the year.
Those taking the course for credit will also complete a reading list and take an examination no later than the first day of September, 2013. The exam can be taken at the student’s home institution or under the direction of an accepted examiner.
- Full Programme – $4,500
Three week programme, including six hours of course credit (upon completion of all relevant coursework). Price includes airfare, accommodations, half meals, transportation, and any required admissions fees.
- Oxford-only Programme – $3,000
Two week programme only, no coure credit awarded. Participants would join the group for only the Oxford portion of the programme. Price does not include airfare, but includes accommodations, half meals, transportation, and any required admissions fees.