Reappraisal Reading Circle is an open meeting discussing the works of a prolific, popular author of the past whose works are held in quantity by the Athenaeum. Participants are encouraged to read any work by the selected author to contribute to the discussion. Even if you haven’t read any of the books you are welcome to attend. Meetings are usually held on the 3rd Monday every other month but occasionally are held on Fridays in the event of a Monday holiday.
John Galsworthy (1867-1933)
John Galsworthy won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932. Today if Americans know him at all, it is because of the TV adaptations of his Forsyte Saga. This is his best work, a celebrated set of three trilogies, nine novels in all. Although Galsworthy was a highly regarded writer in his lifetime, and his literary output was immense and popular, his renown did not survive him and he has never become part of the literary canon.
Galsworthy was trained as a lawyer. Sensitized to injustice, he became an advocate for greater social justice — especially for women, and with regard to prison reform. He used satire to admonish the British system of social class. He used plots with social scandal to test society and criticize its solutions. But Galsworthy was not truly a campaigner or reformer or rebel. Edward Wagenknecht in The Cavalcade of the British Novel, writes (page 486): “Galsworthy might possibly have been more strongly tempted to use his art for propaganda purposes had he possessed a more hopeful nature. Wells and Shaw are great crusaders because they are great believers in human perfectibility. Galsworthy had no such faith. For him the roots of human maladjustment lay deep in the stuff of human nature itself. Palliation might be possible, but there could never be a cure. . . He believed that life is a mess, and that we should be kind.” Galsworthy is sympathetic even to his unlikeable characters. He believed that both kindness and art are able to break down barriers between people. His voice was that of a passionate and compassionate humanist.
Perhaps it is time to rediscover John Galsworthy. Come to the Athenaeum and share your reading about this author on Monday, March 18 at 7 pm.
An excerpt from Galsworthy’s story, The Lost Dog:
“Master, I know it is a thin and dirty cur, but the creature follows me.”
“Keep to heel! The poor dog will get lost if you entice him far from home.”
“Oh, Master! That’s just what’s so amusing. He hasn’t any.”
And like a little ghost the white dog crept along behind. We looked to read his collar; it was gone. We took him home–and how he ate, and how he drank! But my spaniel said to me:
“Master, what is the use of bringing in a dog like this? Can’t you see what he is like? He has eaten all my meat, drunk my bowl dry, and he is now sleeping in my bed.”
I said to him, ”My dear, you ought to like to give this up to this poor dog.”
And he said to me: “Master, I don’t! He is no good, this dog; I am cleaner and fatter than he. And don’t you know there’s a place on the other side of the water for all this class of dog? When are we going to take him there?”
And I said to him: “My dear, don’t ask me; I don’t know.”
Overcoming Adversity with Attitude, Choice & Purpose
Julia is the author of Don’t Leave Me This Way (or when I get back on my feet you’ll be sorry), a memoir that chronicles her struggle to regain control over her life and her body following a massive hemorrhage resulting in a paralyzing stroke. The success of the book and the message it conveys led to a new career path for Julia as a motivational speaker, evangelizing for humaneness in medicine, and in our work and in our personal relationships.
Julia has more than ten years of experience as an acclaimed national speaker. Before her stroke, Julia had a successful career as a manager in software customer support. Rapid advancement through the ranks of her company was within her grasp when she suffered the debilitating injury, effectively ending her career in the corporate world. And thus began her journey of rediscovery and reinvention as author, health care advocate and motivational speaker.
Julia was raised in Andover, MA, in a loving if chaotic household with eight brothers, an upbringing that no doubt made her battle-ready for the literal fight for her life. Julia lives with her husband Jim, son Rory, and dog Shaggy in a suburb outside Boston, where she is working on writing projects as she continues to overcome the effects of stroke.
Dyan deNapoli is a penguin expert, a TED and Nat Geo speaker, and the award-winning author of THE GREAT PENGUIN RESCUE: 40,000 Penguins, A Devastating Oil Spill, and the Inspiring Story of the World’s Largest Animal Rescue.
After working as a Penguin Aquarist at Boston’s prestigious New England Aquarium for 9 years, Dyan began traveling the world as The Penguin Lady, teaching children and adults of all ages about penguin biology, behavior, and conservation. Over the last 23 years, she has captivated hundreds of thousands of audience members with stories of her various experiences with penguins, including her involvement in the largest animal rescue operation to date, and her deep passion and extensive knowledge about penguins. She donates 20% of the proceeds from her book and from every appearance to penguin rescue, research, and conservation groups.
Anne Azema (voice and hurdy-gurdy) and Shira Kammen (vielle and harp), present “Leale Amie,” an exploration of the spirit and power of women through songs and poems of medieval France. They evoke archetypal symbols of the feminine as well as images of women amid the flow of their lives and loves. Passion, joy, sorrow, and humor inform these treasures – eight centuries old, yet timeless. Aristocratic pieces, including trouvere songs by Count Thibaut de Champagne (1201-53), rub shoulders with others of a popular nature, creating an intimate yet emotionally moving experience.
The Monday Evening Conversations Group meets on the second Monday of the month at 7:00 PM. All members and other interested parties are invited.
It may be of interest to know that the The Social Library, predecessor of the Salem Athenæum, was founded by a similar discussion group, called the Monday Evening Club. Edward Augustus Holyoke, Rev. Thomas Barnard, Rev. Thomas Gilchrist, Benjamin Lynde, Nathaniel Ropes and others were among the Monday Evening Club founders, who gathered to discuss current events and topics of mutual interest.
Topics for discussion are wide open, but must be amenable to good conversation. Examples include:
- The long ranging effects of the Civil War
- The courage to be vulnerable
- European architecture
- The importance/non importance of art
- Why have friends
Meetings will start with something to help frame the discussion for the evening, such as a:
- brief talk
- reading of prose or poetry
We look forward to talking with you!