It was nice having my sister in Oxford, but I began to worry this year for my father seemed determined to send my brother there too, and it seemed to me that that would not be so easy. His results had not been as good as hers or mine, and I thought it unlikely that he would be accepted for graduate work without personal inputs. However my father was determined and though, as my mother later put it, it caused enormous problems for all of us, my father to the end of his days rejoiced in the fact that all his three children had been to Oxford.
I was resident once more this year in a College, Corpus Christi, which was responsible for the E K Chambers Studentship which I had been awarded. It was for those who had read Classics to do further work in English, which I think meant I had little competition, but it was still prestigious enough to have this award.
Being in a College meant more socializing than in the previous year, but I still managed to work to schedule. One fairly large undertaking was the International Film Festival, which was almost entirely the work of Phillip Bergson, who became a film critic and is still active in the field. He set up something called the Oxford and Cambridge Festival Arts Society, and roped in several friends he hoped would help to put it socially on the map. But I was also asked to visit distributors in Paris, and was fascinated by the very small offices through which they functioned. This also allowed me to be on my own, though I did help my sister and our friend Saku Kadirgamar, as needed – and she still claims she much enjoyed that first experience of international travel
19th October 1976
I enclose the past papers as required – I believe these are the right ones, let me know if it’s not the lot Chanaka’s doing. I should think, given the PPE tutors at Univ, that General Paper III would be important. I’m not sure from your letter whether he’s already made his choice. If not, though, the type of thing he’s interested in is probably better than tutors’ preferences. Leslie said he’d do his best, but don’t be too optimistic as PPE’s quite hard to get in for.
Could you let me know at once whether any of my Byron stuff has been published by the society – notably the paper on ‘Don Juan’ Mum took back last April, which you typed and sent back?
Anila seems to have settled in very well, Margery Fry being a small and, hence, friendly place. She’s probably sent accounts of all her, and my, doings over the past few weeks, and I feel my own efforts would be slightly redundant – besides which I am trying to keep to a very tight schedule of work, hence my past silence. This doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to letters as eagerly as before – tell Mum it was the Chinese Restaurant I took her to, and Aachchi that Corpus is next to Merton and Christ Church, and looks over the meadows, so that my room has a splendid view. Ano’s probably told you already about my degree celebrations – and the Don next door she dislikes, who discovered incursions on the roof but was very understanding about the whole business.