250 Zenbakia 2004-04-16 / 2004-04-23


Basque in Oxford


Basque in Oxford Xabier Ezeizabarrena, Basque Visiting Fellow, St. Antony’s


Español Hilary term, week 12

As I quoted previously, oxford University I nearly everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The buildings, libraries, halls and other premises are widely spread along the town, including even unexpected places like the Ashmolean Museum, right in Beaumont Steet, commonly known by certain Basques as a piece of Navarre in Oxford. This situation of organised chaos has its origin in the co-federal system ruling the relations among colleges to compose the University as a whole, in the so called "Confederation of Colleges".

The confederation is nowadays composed of 31 independent colleges, 8 colleges for post-graduates, together with a series of common premises and institutions. In order to become a college with full rights there is a prior requirement of a Royal Charter to certify the academic background of the college willing to become a member of the confederation. Politic affairs are also linked to these matter, and I'm still discovering some mighty ideas and typical approaches to this issue. One of them is the left wing tradition of Balliol, in front of the conservative background of Oriel. On the first issue I am still searching for some data; with regard to the second idea, yesterday's high table with its previous mass was fairly enough to assume the nature o some particular very conservative messages. Hilary term, week 13 Graham Greene & Balliol College:

Nobody could avoid having a look at the impressive library of Balliol College with some peculiar original documents dating back to 1276. Among its most well known scholars in history, Graham Greene is a very famous fellow, particularly since his appearance in college during the 20s to become an active member of the University Communist Party. There are chronicles quoting that Greene, apart from writing poetry, assumed huge debts in town, while being a remarkable visitor of the best inns and taverns around. During one of his ways back to the XII stairs in Balliol towards his rooms, somebody had to give him a hand to cross the college quad and reach totally drunk to the interview with his tutor and warden in those days. While studying he received dozens of letters about his various articles and writings; one of those ones drove him directly to marriage with a woman ignoring absolutely some of his favourite hobbies, like the very risky one of playing the Russian roulette in the woods of Elsfield.

PD: Find herewith information on talk organised by the Basque Fellowship about sustainable development (2 March), and talk of the Basque Fellow on the "Prestige" shipwreck (Organised by Oxford Law Fac, 3rd March).

http://denning.law.ox.ac.uk/news/eventdetail.php?events_ID=203 Hilary term, week 14 In the Taylorian Sir Edward Spencer Dodgson.

During my brief appearance at the Taylorian Institution in Hilary term, I have quoted the mighty figure of Sir Edward Spencer Dodgson, the speech of the Oxford "Public Orator" in 1907 on his very diverse works about Basque language and, of course, some of his very curious quoting about our language. Some of them have been recently commented by the clever press of Pamplona (Diario de Noticias, 6-2-2004). All this happened during a brief conference on "Historical Rights, language and Basque identities", which was finally about to be forgotten by the figure and works of Dodgson. Among them, there is a very remarkable musical approach to the sound of Basque:

"... Basque lips move through an electrical stream... mystery... to see every word searching to tell its own history... ez ikusi, ez ikasi: itxasoak adarrik ez... Basque is a broad and deep rope with hundred dark branches swallowing the past..."

Very different, but also remarkable were his discussions with Azkue, to whom the character of this English dedicated a well known assert within the margin of a book: "Heuskararen askena izango da Askuena". Hilary term, week 15 The Prestige in Corpus Christi During Hilary term, the Law Faculty has organised a series of more less improvised seminars on environmental law. Among them, while being in Oxford they have invited me to provide some debate on the "Prestige" shipwreck, and I hav to recognise we have managed to do so. My considerations havebeen subject to a hard dispute during a certain time at the Franekel room of Corpus. Actually, we had more people coming than it was expected and, among them, I have to underline the figure and intervention of Sir Vaughan Lowe, one of the most remarkable professors on International Law in Oxford, whose speech, of course, was in clear disagreement with mine regarding to the inefficiency of the States sovereignty to deal with these sort of events. The issue was not a big deal finally but, obviously, my thesis did not found any support from the senior professor. By the way, in one case or the other, the ship is still beneath the sea one year and a half after the incident... Related articles Menu GAIAK Inicio > EM 250 > Gaiak -->