After transferring to Magdalen College, Oxford, in the autumn of 1874, Wilde scored highest marks on his entrance exams, and finished by taking a prestigious double first in “Greats,” the relatively recent, classics-based curriculum officially known as literae humaniores. Always attentive to his image, he liked to imply that these successes came easily — “he liked to pose as a dilettante trifling with his books,” Hunter Blair recalled — but in fact put in “hours of assiduous and laborious reading, often into the small hours of the morning.” Whatever his taste for lilies and Sèvres, he was a grind.
— Daniel Mendelsohn, “Oscar Wilde, Classics Scholar” in Waiting for the Barbarians
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