From its origins in the thirteenth century the University of Cambridge has
attracted notable students and teachers, both brilliant and eccentric. From
Erasmus to Bertrand Russell, 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 welcomed many 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. 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 the secrets of the universe
- THE CITY OF DRAMA AND COMEDY: from Latin entertainments for Elizabeth I to
the Footlights and Monty Python
MARTIN GARRETT has written widely on Renaissance and nineteenth-century
literature. He is the author of Venice: A Cultural and Literary Companion
(Signal, 2000). He has lived and worked in Cambridge since 1994.