Reading to Widen Perspective
The London Literary Salon has always been committed to using literature to combat prejudice. I have been leading discussions on literature by Black Americans for 30 years- and continue to find the study of the passionate writing by Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin opens my mind, helps me peel back layers of inherited racism and celebrate Black literature. The coming studies on Invisible Man and A Mercy offer reflective space to understand the lived experience of racism and the roots of a white supremacy. As a white person, it has never been more important to listen and actively attempt to understand what it is to experience racism(though I know I will never truly understand) and use my learning of history and lived experience to energise this welcome battle against this most virulent oppression. There are many ways to dismantle racism-thanks to all who have participated in these discussions with honesty and humility.
Here is a participant reflecting on a recent study of Invisible Man:
“Thank you for guiding us through such a challenging and difficult book. What an overwhelming time we are living in, full of a similar chaos to when the book was written, with those struggles just continuing – and brought into such stark relief by the current administration in the US. To have racism (and misogyny) entrenched and promoted, at the very top of government, seems to me a truly terrible thing, and one that makes me feel powerless. So that’s where I am with this book – incredibly worthwhile but also harrowing… I guess that is what great literature is for, to really make you think and feel and burn.” R.T., 6.2020
Alison Cable and I are preparing a study of Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston for July 22nd. For those planning on joining Ulysses in 2021, the coming study of Hamlet will provide a good grounding– the brilliance of this play comes alive in our exploration– and speaks to our times as we watch a mind in battle with corruption.
In the coming weeks, we will be announcing the fall offerings. Let us know if there are studies you are interested in…
—Toby and the Lit Salon facilitators