In November and December the Salons hummed along with two intensive studies on To the Lighthouse and the on-going surreal climb up Mann’s Magic Mountain. We will continue climbing –and descending the Mountain into 2014–many new Salons also coming up (see Events section for more info)


  • 14 .01 Black Voices in American Literature : Weaving history, diverse traditions and a collage of voices, we will explore the struggle and celebration of black experience through Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, works by James Baldwin and Harlem Renaissance artists. Study offered at City Lit; London’s largest adult university.

12 week study; Tuesday 6-7:30 PM CityLit Covent Garden

Intimidating, broad and beautiful—this is the Modernist work that tops the charts and requires a real commitment on the part of the reader. A Salon participant described the experience of reading Ulysses  “has made me a better reader, writer and human being”. The book is full of humour, food, sex, urban life and language play—Joyce’s love letter to Dublin and his critique of his Irish nation provides deep perspective on our contemporary living.

20 week study, Thursdays 8-10 PM at the London Literary Salon in Kentish Town

  • 12.01 “The Wasteland” by T.S. Eliot One meeting Salon Intensive 6-9:30 PM

The Wasteland is one of the most famous and most difficult poems written in English during the 20th c.; here is Mary Karr on how (and why) to approach the poem: “The boundary between 20th century verse in English and its 19th century predecessors –Romantic poetry and the genteel Victorian stuff after it—didn’t simply dissolve. It came down with an axe swoop, and the blade was T. S. Eliot’s “Waste Land”. William Carlos Williams said the poem “wiped out our world as if an atom bomb had been dropped upon it.” Its publication in 1922 killed off the last limping, rickets-ridden vestiges of the old era and raised the flag of Modernism…”



  • 02.02 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley One Meeting Salon Intensive 5-10 PM

There is renewed interest in Mary Shelly’s gothic? Feminist? Science fiction? classic. Recent productions have peeled back the layers of the block-headed, bolted monster and gets down to Mary Shelly’s original concern: what is the relationship between the created and the creator? Edward Mendelson offers: “Frankenstein is the story of childbirth as it would be if it had been invented by someone who wanted power more than love.” The form of the story also draws the reader into the entangled and unlimited relationship between the Creature and its creator as we move through narrators to get to the frozen final confrontation.

The Salon intensive is a five-hour gulp…we take in the whole book at once and the resulting discussion tends to be energetic. Frankenstein is not a big read- most versions are between 110-135 pages…but it is worth giving yourself sometime to read and consider closely the many layers contained in the work.

Starting in March:

26.03  Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner (five week study, evening or afternoon options)

16.03 & 30.03 –Two meetings for Homer’s The Odyssey

Starting end of March—Eight week study of Moby Dick 


Starting week of November 12th
Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain has been grouped with the two other giant Modernist classics Ulysses and Remembrance of Things Past as the formative novels of the Modernist era. A first dip in to the text reveals an accessible, lilting narrative that once in, you find yourself considering time, society, passion, memory from the strange angle of remove that characterises the perspective of the invalid. Mann’s work is also deeply political; placed before WWI but written between WWI and WWII, MM engages questions of Nationalism and nostalgia with the shadow of future events shifting the weight of the ironic stance that Mann employs.

We will need some time to encounter the richness and length of this work: the study will extend over three five-week sessions ( a total of 15 weeks). Meetings start the first week of November; we will break for the holidays.
Day time meetings: 12:30-2:30 Tuesday afternoons    two spaces remaining
Evening meetings: 8-10 PM Wednesday evenings       full

Recommended Edition Everyman’s Library (2005) translation by John E. Woods (available at Owl Bookshop Kentish Town)

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf One Day Salon Intensive London
In this exquisite work, Woolf seeks to break through the restraints of language to access the interior voice of passions, fears, unspeakable thoughts and human dynamics. By employing stream of consciousness narrative and the early stirrings of the modernist aesthetic, Woolf gives insights into the nature of relationships and the formation of self in relation to others that will be recognizable – and revealing to each reader.
Salon Intensive 5:30-10PM  November 29th