Nov
2
Thu
Tennessee Williams Course
Nov 2 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

7 Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. — October 5-November 16

Last fall, we considered the plays of Arthur Miller, one of the two greatest American playwrights of the mid-twentieth century. In this fall’s 7-week course, we will examine the work of the other great playwright of this period: Tennessee Williams. While Miller’s realistic plays were rooted in the industrial North, Williams’ expressionistic dramas seemed to be thoroughly Southern.

Upon closer examination, we discover that Williams’ plays constitute a much broader critique of post-war America with its ambivalent attitudes towards class, success, sexuality, and outsiderness. As a technical innovator, Williams was the true master, as even Miller had to concede. Through an examination of his life, his recorded conversations and published essays, we will also learn how Williams transformed his life experiences into bold dramas; how he felt about the American theater in his time, the price of fame, the critical reviews he received, and the filmed adaptations of his works. On several occasions, we will view filmed versions of the plays in class.

Plays to be considered are:

The Glass Menagerie (1944)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1949)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955)
Orpheus Descending (1957)
Suddenly Last Summer (1958)
Sweet Bird of Youth (1959)
Night of the Iguana (1961).

Nov
5
Sun
Writing the Next Chapter with Our Refugee Neighbors—Exhibit
Nov 5 @ 3:00 pm – Nov 11 @ 2:00 pm

A temporary exhibit connected with the presentations on November 5 will be on display at the Salem Athenaeum through November 11. 

Read the Refugee Neighbors Transcripts (PDF)

This event will encompass an informative panel discussion regarding several local refugees and their experiences moving to the North Shore. A reception will follow, and though their demanding schedules are often erratic, several refugees do hope to attend.

Salem State Professor Elisabeth Weiss Horowitz, inspired by a recent exhibit at Government Center, as well as her work with Catholic Charities, created this program to both assist with English language instruction, and introduce these new neighbors to our community.

Her panel includes photographer Leah Bokenkamp, as well as fellow local writers M.P. Carver, Shari D. Frost, Danielle Jones-Pruett and Keri Snook, who will share intimate portraits and interviews that offer a glimpse into the challenges refugees face settling into a new culture and community. In addition, each writer will present a creative work.

Nov
6
Mon
Adams Lecture: Gordon Wood
Nov 6 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

 

Pulitzer-winning historian Gordon S. Wood discusses his new book, Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds, or been more different in temperament. Jefferson, the optimist with enough faith in the innate goodness of his fellow man to be democracy’s champion, was an aristocratic Southern slave owner, while Adams, the overachiever from New England’s rising middling classes, painfully aware he was no aristocrat, was a skeptic about popular rule and a defender of a more elitist view of government. Their profound differences would lead to a fundamental crisis, in their friendship and in the nation writ large, as they became the figureheads of two entirely new forces, the first American political parties. But late in life, something remarkable happened: these two men were nudged into reconciliation. What started as a grudging trickle of correspondence became a great flood, and a friendship was rekindled, over the course of hundreds of letters.

Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor and professor of history at Brown University. His books have received the Pulitzer, Bancroft and John H. Dunning prizes, as well as a National Book Award nomination and the New York Historical Society Prize in American History. They include Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, Revolutionary Characters, The Purpose of the Past, The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin, and The Idea of America.

Nov
9
Thu
Tennessee Williams Course
Nov 9 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

7 Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. — October 5-November 16

Last fall, we considered the plays of Arthur Miller, one of the two greatest American playwrights of the mid-twentieth century. In this fall’s 7-week course, we will examine the work of the other great playwright of this period: Tennessee Williams. While Miller’s realistic plays were rooted in the industrial North, Williams’ expressionistic dramas seemed to be thoroughly Southern.

Upon closer examination, we discover that Williams’ plays constitute a much broader critique of post-war America with its ambivalent attitudes towards class, success, sexuality, and outsiderness. As a technical innovator, Williams was the true master, as even Miller had to concede. Through an examination of his life, his recorded conversations and published essays, we will also learn how Williams transformed his life experiences into bold dramas; how he felt about the American theater in his time, the price of fame, the critical reviews he received, and the filmed adaptations of his works. On several occasions, we will view filmed versions of the plays in class.

Plays to be considered are:

The Glass Menagerie (1944)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1949)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955)
Orpheus Descending (1957)
Suddenly Last Summer (1958)
Sweet Bird of Youth (1959)
Night of the Iguana (1961).

Nov
11
Sat
Quinton Oliver Jones Studio Tour
Nov 11 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Enjoy a special opportunity to experience the environment in which Quinton Oliver Jones created his fantastical paintings. A guided tour of his former home, including his workspace and many more paintings, will be part of the experience. A small reception is included. Reservations required. Limited availability.

The paintings of Quinton Oliver Jones occupy a fantastical, vividly imaginative space. Swirling landscapes inhabited by human and animal figures, codes and symbols, evoke dreams or fairy tales where anything can happen. His inventive use of colors outside of nature to describe the natural world turn landscapes into dreamscapes, often with a vibrating, sometimes eerie glow. The human characters often seem at the mercy of whimsical, hybrid animal creatures that rule the canvases, adding a psychological element.

 

Book Group
Nov 11 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Discussion group meets on the second Saturday of the month at 11:00 a.m.

View the reading list.

Garden Clean-up Day
Nov 11 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
After surveying the grounds, the following tasks have been chosen for our annual Fall Clean-up session:
1.      Gather fallen branches
2.      Prune seasonal plants
3.      Rake leaves
4.      Plant spring flower bulbs.
We hope you can make it on Saturday!
Nov
12
Sun
Quinton Oliver Jones Studio Tour
Nov 12 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Enjoy a special opportunity to experience the environment in which Quinton Oliver Jones created his fantastical paintings. A guided tour of his former home, including his workspace and many more paintings, will be part of the experience. A small reception is included. Reservations required. Limited availability.

The paintings of Quinton Oliver Jones occupy a fantastical, vividly imaginative space. Swirling landscapes inhabited by human and animal figures, codes and symbols, evoke dreams or fairy tales where anything can happen. His inventive use of colors outside of nature to describe the natural world turn landscapes into dreamscapes, often with a vibrating, sometimes eerie glow. The human characters often seem at the mercy of whimsical, hybrid animal creatures that rule the canvases, adding a psychological element.

 

Nov
13
Mon
Monday Evening Conversations
Nov 13 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

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
  • podcast
  • video
  • reading of prose or poetry
  • music

We look forward to talking with you!

Reappraisal Reading Circle: George Meredith
Nov 13 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

GEORGE MEREDITH (1828-1909)

Grumble or chuckle at his literary creations, George Meredith stands as an author Athenaeum members read, and an author who has earned his place in literary history. Poet, novelist, and lecturer, Meredith has been lauded for his philosophy, imagination and spirit. Tennyson, George Eliot, Rossetti and Swinburne all admired him. Prime Minister Asquith wanted him buried in Westminster Abbey. Nevertheless, Meredith did not become famous until his later years. His style was always difficult, no matter how rich in characterization and magic his writing might be. Of The Egoist, 1879, the Encyclopedia Britannica states that the novel  “shows an increase in Meredith’s twistedness of literary style and is admittedly hard to read for those who merely want a story, but which for concentrated analysis and the real drama of the human spirit [it] is an astounding production.”

If you are game to “take the challenge” of Meredith’s aphorisms and convoluted sentences, or if you want to consign Meredith to the dust bin, either way you are invited to explore some of his writings with the Reappraisal Reading Circle on Monday, November 13 at 7PM.