A generation or so ago, the Inklings - C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams - met regularly in an Oxford pub to encourage one another in the writing of fictions set in fantasy worlds... Philip Pullman's Gyptians live on an Oxford canal and it is from Oxford that his characters gain entry to another world... It is true that Oxford is a world to itself, a village where everyone stops in the Broad or the High to exchange local gossip... The visitor walking among the golden colleges may still see students setting off for examinations dressed in black and white... But encounters in the street are as likely to grapplings with politics (local, national and international) as exchanges about a point of scholarly detail... The 'reality' of Oxford is that it is not at all a land of faery.'
University of Oxford, The
A New History