I started this blog a month ago when I was just about to formally enrol on a postgraduate course at our local university. At that moment I felt that the title should reflect the long gap between first going to a university and starting again at another one, so that Going back to college after 55 years seemed sensible. Under this title I could write a few posts which would outline to readers how it came about that we were living in Buckingham after so many years in Richmond and why now, after two years in our new home town, I was embarking on a course of study.
The posts that followed were increasingly about the course itself and – because the first term's study concentrates on autobiography – on episodes in my past life. Therefore the first title had served its purpose. If the early posts had been written to appear in a conventional book, they would have appeared in Chapter 1 under the title until yesterday applying to the whole blog.
Increasingly I want my blog to serve as a description of what I am doing to people who may be able to help me in the research that I will be doing towards my dissertation at the end of the course, provisionally entitled The Impact of New Technology upon the Creation of Biographies. I have already interviewed two leading biographers about this and I want to interview at least two dozen more. Other biographers will I hope glance at the blog and then consider favourably my request for an interview with them.
Therefore the new title of the blog should reflect what I am doing, the Biography Course, and where I am doing it, at the University of Buckingham. I also want the title to imply two things, firstly that I am actually following the course and secondly that the contents of the blog describe something about the nature of the course.
This want I hope is fulfilled with a little word right at the beginning, On, with its many meanings. Like being on a plane or a train, I am on a course, travelling not through space but through time from the start to the end of the course. It has also the meaning of Concerning or About which used to be expressed in theological and scientific works in Latin with the little word De, as in Augustine's De Civitate Dei (About the City of God) or Harvey's De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis (Concerning the Motion of the Heart and the Blood).
Welcome, then, to the first post written for my blog with this new and appropriate title.