Education: Poetry & Politics

The poetry chair at Oxford University was established in 1696 by a barrister who thought that "standards of learning" were in a decline, but for years the chair moldered. Except for Matthew Arnold, the occupants were seldom poets. Though it was Oxford's only elective professorship, the eligible voters (all Masters of Arts) were usually so preoccupied with such rites as translating the motets of pre-Bach polyphonists that they failed to vote.

Last week all that changed in a donybrook fought, in the words of Poet Louis MacNeice, with "the soft-spoken malice, the ostentatiously...

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