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In 1865 the Victorian poet Matthew Arld rejoiced in the charm of Oxford, 'that sweet City with her dreaming spires'. A century and a half later, That Sweet City offers a visual and poetic tribute to what is still one of the fairest and most enthralling places in the world. Designed in the form of seven walks across and around Oxford, and radiating out into the surrounding countryside, this book evokes the buildings and landscapes, both famous and less well-kwn, that have witnessed and shaped the city's history. The first sequence of pictures and poems, Seven Sights of Oxford, leads the reader (and walker) from Christ Church Meadow across the High Street to the Radcliffe Camera; thence down Broad Street to St. Giles, the University Parks and Port Meadow. The second, Seven Secret Sights, offers a circular tour of lesser-kwn landmarks from the Town Hall to Folly Bridge, the Old Railway Bridge and Isis Lock, the re-emergent Radcliffe Campus, Mesopotamia and The Plain. Seven Ages of Oxford, starting with the Saxon Tower of St. Michael's Church in the Cornmarket, and finishing in the University s science area in South Parks Road (via the Castle, Worcester College, Christ Church, the Sheldonian Theatre and the University Museum), provides a short and eclectic history of the city and its ancient University. Other sequences of poems and paintings include Seven Treasures of Oxford (with the Alfred Jewel and the Bodleian Library), Seven Sights around Oxford (with Otmoor, Kelmscott and Blenheim Palace) and Seven Products of Oxford (including marmalade, books and Oxfam). A final walk, Seven Gardens of Oxford, celebrates the diversity of the city s many green spaces. An introduction provides a concise history of Oxford and explains the choice of sights, the structure of the poetry and the inspiration behind the illustrations. Maps make it easy for visitors to follow the walks and find their way around the city. In words and images, That Sweet City evokes a place constantly changing yet timeless in its beauty.
John Elinger is an award-winning poet and the nom de plume of Sir Christopher Ball, sometime Warden of Keble College, Oxford. Katherine Shock is an Oxford-based painter and garden designer. They have also produced the companion volume, That Mighty Heart: Visions of London, which is available from Signal Books.