Ulysses Feedback 2017

 If you were recommending the study to a friend, what aspects might you highlight?

“How enjoyable it is to learn and have fun in a group reading a book together and how what I thought was impossible – enjoying Ulysses – became possible through this exercise…”

” Excellent “light touch” teaching, very friendly atmosphere, the chance to “live with” a complex modernist text over a number of months…I liked meeting in a domestic setting rather than a classroom and appreciated the glass of wine at break time. I also really enjoyed the sessions in the local pub and the wine bar… I’ve really enjoyed it (still am as we haven’t finished yet) and hope to attend more literary salons in the future.”

“Toby’s enthusiasm, knowledge and ability to communicate accessibly have made this enjoyable as well as academically stimulating…”

“It (the reading of Ulysses) has made me more adventurous in my reading. I am willing to take more risks and give the writer more time. It has also taught me as a writer to trust my readers more. And not be afraid to ‘expose’ my ‘good characters’.”

“The fact that the instruction is illuminating without being in the least prescriptive. This to my mind allows a free exchange of ideas which, given the range of experience and perspective of the readers, is invaluable. It also permits the readers to engage with the text on their own terms, in the light of their preferences and perspective, and eventually to ‘own’ the book as their own.”

“Just loving how each session has different meaning for the class members – it’s like being given clues to a mystery that we have to solve together using our different skill/talents/perspectives …I’m learning so much from everyone.”

“Wednesday night with you and Ulysses and the group has become a highlight of my week.  I love working on the reading and listening to the chapters and reading cliffs notes or something to try and make sense of it.  Even more I like coming to your house with our group and working through some of the sections, listening to each other read, getting a sense of how other people interpreted the chapter and the passages.  I think you are extremely skilled at connecting people, both with each other and with the text.  In my 3 sessions with you, Toby, you bring people out and allow them space to make contributions.  This “making people comfortable talking about literature” seems to be the key skill, for me.  I think it is vital and essential to sharing and enjoying and getting as much as possible from the text.  My sense is that none of us mind if you do or don’t send around the notes.  I think you hold yourself to that, but we don’t mind if we don’t get that at all.  I don’t relaly have time to read it anyway, and I prefer to be ‘in the moment’ with the group over reading anything a few days after (which is when I finally get around to opening it, and then it feels a bit like work).  I also am not sure we need much ‘support’ other than knowing that we will meet and make some sense of the chapters.  For me, that is enough to keep me engaged and reading.  The pace is good.  it often is challenging to get all of the reading done, but in a sense that is what I love: being forced to prioritize the reading over other life activities.  That seems useful and important to me.  The value is huge!  I am not even sure what the sessions cost, but I know it is worth it.  so you could probably charge more from my own perspective.  It’s a ‘real life event’ in a sea of pub nights and bad musical shows.  I think it’s worth whatever you’re charging!  I think you are an excellent instructor, but perhaps for me it is more important than instruction.  It’s the raw element of being in your house with likeminded people who are different but who come together to share in what we can share with literature as a way to share life, ideas, and dreams.  I’d write more but frankly I am back to Ulysses now! ”

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