Salon Participants offer their reflections….
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…
A few Proustians:
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!
EVERYTHING works well in my Salon experience, dear Toby!
I’ve done a course at the Salon on King Lear and am now a third of the way through ‘In Search of Lost Time’. So far, the most important lessons I’ve learnt are:
- I get so much more from reading in a group than on my own
- Reading outloud, and listening to others reading outloud (which we usually do in the second half of our meetings) adds enormously to the pleasure
- 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.
- 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.’
A Magic Mountain climber:
A few Wakians:
“Finnegans Wake” is not a book to tackle on your own – for one thing it is bursting with jokes that just demand to be shared. Also it is literature as music, so it is important not just to read it, but to hear how it sounds when read aloud in company. And it is hugely daunting at first glance, so needs to be faced with companions who help keep up one’s courage and belief that it can be absorbed even if nowhere near fully understood.