Feedback for the London Literary Salon

We always ask our Salon participants for feedback – what they found valuable in a study, what they would like to see improved – and we adjust our studies accordingly. Here’s what our participants have to say:

I would recommend courses led by Toby to anyone who wants to look at a text in detail in a study group

"I was looking for a discussion of a complex text led by someone who can provide guidance, insight and background material. Toby has an informal, but structured approach enabling participants to contribute and develop their ideas. The third and fourth sessions were particularly successful as the group got to grips with the text helped by the material provided by Toby. I would recommend courses led by Toby to anyone who wants to look at a text in detail in a study group."

P. - To the Lighthouse, Invisible Man, Beloved, Mrs Dalloway participant

I was certainly surprised at how much I was thrown off balance by these two astounding writers…I look forward to returning for more

"I will just say that, for me, the great thing about the salon is that it feels like a form of play...Over the years as a teacher, I sometimes felt that what was occurring in class was a kind of play, and when this happened it seemed a wonderful thing...So my remark is intended as a compliment to all that Toby does...

I had a truly challenging and rewarding time with Mann and Proust last term, and must thank you for this...even though the combination of the two was at times too much! I was reading today about Stendhal syndrome...Apparently he suggested that Art can make you feel ill...I was certainly surprised at how much I was thrown off balance by these two astounding writers...I look forward to returning for more."

K. - Proust/Magic Mountain participant

We all came to the group with different backgrounds and interests but Mark has skillfully guided us through a stimulating programme of Greek literature.

"I joined the Literary Salon's Great Ideas, Great Books group a year ago and I am so pleased that I did! We all came to the group with different backgrounds and interests but Mark has skillfully guided us through a stimulating programme of Greek literature. As our collective knowledge has grown our discussions have become richer and more enjoyable. I would recommend this group to anyone who wants a challenge and to explore new ideas."

W. - Great Ideas, Great Books participant

I always leave the meetings with a much broader understanding of what we are reading than when I arrived

"While I always attempt to prepare as fully as I can for our sessions, I always leave the meetings with a much broader understanding of what we are reading than when I arrived – and this is the case despite the substantial additional material Toby provides.  Experiencing the group meeting seems to be a really important feature of illuminating the text."

J. - King Lear & Proust participant

Everyone feels they get heard and therefore that each of us has a contribution to make

"One of Toby's strengths is her way of ensuring that the Salon experience is a combined exploration of the text, rather than that of a teacher offering a single didactic account of the book. The result is that everyone feels they get heard and therefore that each of us has a contribution to make."

H. - King Lear & Proust participant

In all of the courses I have attended I have felt a bond within the group, and this contributes significantly to the quality of the discussions

"I like very much the feeling of being part of a cohesive group grappling with new, often challenging material.  In all of the courses I have attended I have felt a bond within the group, and this contributes significantly to the quality of the discussions.  This bond is strongest in the longer courses I have signed up for, especially the two-year course!"

S. - Virginia Woolf participant, Proust participant

Lovely, intimate groups with in-depth discussions, lots of learning, and friendships are made for life there

"EVERYTHING works well in my Salon experience, dear Toby! Impossible to improve - it's all perfect and wonderful!

OMG! Nothing compares to the Salon experience: I've been attending courses, classes and seminars for more than 40 years but this is different: BETTER: lovely, intimate groups with in-depth discussions, lots of learning and friendships are made for life there.

The notes, recordings, background information and critical essays are enormously helpful and such that I have never come across before.

Above all it is easy going, friendly and NO PRESSURE.  Anyone, whatever the standard, will benefit from such patient and kind [and funny] meetings."

A. - Ulysses, Proust & Faulkner participant

I’ve read things I’d never dared read before.  I’ve made new friends and met really interesting people.

"The best thing about being part of the Salon is sharing a journey through a book with other people. Hearing a mix of ideas and impressions deepens and opens the whole experience, taking it off in direction I never would have come to by myself. Having the conversation facilitated helps keep us focussed and balances out the stronger voices against the more hesitant ones. Everyone brings their own experiences and expertise which makes for a group discovery of new meanings and insights. Plus other people's enthusiasm helps for passages I'm not so moved by.

I've read things I'd never dared read before.  I've made new friends and met really interesting people.

I am very happy with how things are in the groups, however there are times when we all (me included) get into telling people what to think, rather than keeping the discussion in the mode of enquiry-we all get carried away with our passions, when the text gets heated!

I am grateful for the way you facilitate the group and keep us to task, plus your enthusiasm and constant spirit of enquiry is very motivating and inspiring."

N. - Ulysses participant, Odyssey, TS Eliot

On Jazz by Toni Morrison

Just to say that I found our four sessions enormously enriching.  You and Geoff provided invaluable framing and wide and expert knowledge including of jazz, you kept us to some kind of structure within the discussions, and all the participants offered such wonderfully diverse readings and interpretations - everyone's input was valuable and relevant.

I am only sorry that because of holiday dates I won't be able to come on your next study of 'Beloved' but will catch up with you soon in another study I am sure.

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I would recommend courses led by Toby to anyone who wants to look at a text in detail in a study group
I was certainly surprised at how much I was thrown off balance by these two astounding writers…I look forward to returning for more
We all came to the group with different backgrounds and interests but Mark has skillfully guided us through a stimulating programme of Greek literature.
I always leave the meetings with a much broader understanding of what we are reading than when I arrived
Everyone feels they get heard and therefore that each of us has a contribution to make
In all of the courses I have attended I have felt a bond within the group, and this contributes significantly to the quality of the discussions
Lovely, intimate groups with in-depth discussions, lots of learning, and friendships are made for life there
I’ve read things I’d never dared read before.  I’ve made new friends and met really interesting people.
On facilitation
Read more feedback ...

What’s coming up?

november 2020

03nov5:00 pmHenry James: The Portrait of a Lady Seven-week Virtual studyThree spaces available5:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Seven weeks

05nov4:00 pmTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston4:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:One day,Three weeks

23nov6:00 pmShakespearean Sonnet Study with Jane Wymark**STUDY FULL**6:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:One Off EventDuration:One day

25nov6:30 pmMrs Dalloway by Virginia WoolfVIRTUAL STUDY *SALON FULL*6:30 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Four weeks

30nov6:00 pmAs You Like It -- Shakespeare study with Jane Wymark**SALON FULL**6:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Seven weeks

december 2020

07dec6:00 pmMiddlemarch by George Eliot*** Lockdown special***6:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Seven weeks

14dec5:00 pmThe Dead by James Joyce * Salon Full*Virtual Salon5:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:One Off EventDuration:One day

january 2021

05jan4:00 pmThe Dead by James Joyce Salon IntensiveVirtual Salon4:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:One Off EventDuration:One day

06jan5:00 pmBeloved by Toni Morrison 3-week studyVIRTUAL STUDY5:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Three weeks

11jan12:30 pmMarcel Proust: In Search of Lost Time Vol. I The Way by Swann'sVirtual Salon12:30 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Nine weeks

11jan3:00 pmUlysses by James Joyce: First-timers Afternoon and Evening options3:00 pm Kentish Town, LondonType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Six months

12jan7:45 pmUlysses Second Tour: Evening Sessions January 20217:45 pm Kentish Town, LondonType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Six months

february 2021

08feb6:00 pmHamlet by William Shakespeare with Jane Wymark6:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Six Weeks

april 2021

14apr(apr 14)6:00 pmThe Years by Virginia Woolf Five-day study in St Ives *NEW DATES*Immersive Study of Woolf's family saga in her beloved Cornwall6:00 pm St Ives, CornwallType Of Study:Literature,TravelFrequency:One Off EventDuration:Five days

may 2021

02may(may 2)12:00 pmHomer's Odyssey in Greece: One-week immersionNew Dates12:00 pm Island of Agistri, GreeceType Of Study:TravelFrequency:One Off EventDuration:Eight Days

29may11:00 amReading the Body: Salon and Yoga retreat in Umbria DATE CHANGE11:00 am Umbria, ItalyType Of Study:TravelFrequency:One Off EventDuration:One Week

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