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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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!"
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."
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."