In 2008 a diary was discovered amongst some books donated to a charity bookshop in Oxford. It was a most remarkable book, supposedly written over three hundred years ago by a student, describing his life and unusual pet, a dodo.
Doubts have been cast over the authenticity of the diary, so every page has been photographed and reprinted to enable readers to judge for themselves.
The editors, Philip Atkins and Michael Johnson, have included notes on the diary entries, on such topics as astrology, book production, doll’s houses, and gout.
A video shows the first few pages of the diary:
As well as providing a portrait of the famous bird and glimpses of seventeenth-century Oxford, this is the history of a book: how it was printed, made, unmade, torn, stained, scribbled over, and forgotten. Now by strange good fortune both book and bird have come back to us, large as life.
- A Dodo at Oxford is a masterpiece … a real Oxford book, in every sense, full of wit and fantasy, and properly anchored in a very real seventeenth-century world. Philip Pullman
- A Dodo at Oxford is a classic in the making. From the city that brought us the Cheshire Cat and the Mock Turtle comes a new mythic beast, the Oxford Student’s indefatigable Dodo. Books of such wit, charm and scholarship are as rare as the eponymous beast at its centre. Savour it slowly, page by glorious page. John Mitchinson, co-author of The QI Book of General Ignorance
Please click on the newspaper’s title below to see some of the press coverage:
- The Oxford Times, 19 August 2010
- The Sunday Express, 5 September 2010
- The Bookseller, 10 September 2010
- The Financial Times, 18 September 2010
- Literary Review, November 2010
- Spectator, 27 November 2010
- The Guardian, 11 December 2010
In 2013 Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford choose A Dodo at Oxford to represent the year 2010 in its ‘Best Books of the Last 25 Years’ list that they had most enjoyed celebrating and selling since 1989.
Edited by Philip Atkins and Michael Johnson, 2010, 160 pages, 196mm x 129mm, hardback, ISBN 9780953443826, weight approximately 350g. Product code: AD1P