The Life of Anthony Wood in His Own Words
Distributed for Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Anthony Wood (1632–95) was an English historian and antiquary best known for his books on the history and antiquities of the University of Oxford as well as Athenae Oxonienses: an Exact History of all the Writers and Bishops who have had their Education in the University of Oxford from 1500 to 1690. Some of the revelations in Athenae Oxonienses were considered scandalous at the time, and a copy of the manuscript was famously burned in protest in front of the Bodleian Library in 1693. Wood’s autobiography reflects his life-long devotion to historiography, and consequently it paints a lively picture of many well known figures in seventeenth century England.
Wood made more contributions to biography, bibliography, and the history of the University and city of Oxford than any other writer before that time. As a result, The Autobiography of Anthony Wood is brimming with information of all kinds, from famous people—including Christopher Wren, John Locke, the physician John Lower, the defiant Catholic Ralph Sheldon, the mathematician John Wallis, and a host of Oxford heads of colleges, vice-chancellors and chancellors—to descriptions of significant events—such as skirmishes between parliamentarian and royalist forces in the 1640s, the atmosphere of Oxford during the parliamentarian occupation, the return of King Charles II in 1660, and the anti-Catholic movement of the 1670s. Based directly upon original sources, this critical edition of Wood’s autobiography offers an entertaining and revealing look at one of the most interesting and turbulent periods in Oxford’s past.
Abbreviations and conventions
Wood's life after 1672