What we’re about
This group started in May 2011, and we've read novels by Joyce, Malraux, Kafka, Wright, Mishima, Faulkner, Nabokov, Unamuno, Ellison, Hamsun, Woolf, Biely, Gide, and many others. We try to have a good time discussing the books without descending to small talk, think critically without descending to pedantry, etc.
Also, as the title shows, we've expanded our reading list since the group started. We don't really want to title the group something as vague as "Chicago Literature Group," etc., and modernist fiction and poetry still make up most of the reading list. But if some group members are excited about reading something else, be it Goethe or Ovid, Wallace or Perec, we're interested in that too. Feel free to make suggestions.
August 3, 2024 marks the 100th Anniversary of Joseph Conrad's death. To mark the occasion of his centennial, we will embark on a journey into darkness with a Seminar featuring read throughs of a selection of some of his best known works including Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Nostromo, the Secret Agent, Under Western Eyes, among others. This meeting will be a placeholder to gauge interest in the potential seminar, and we will discuss at this meeting what novels to focus on, what to omit, and what time slot will work best for everyone involved.
Upcoming events (4+)See all
- The World Revolution of Books: Goethe and WeltliteraturLink visible for attendees
What is the meaning of World Literature?
Please join us for a discussion of Goethe's concept of Weltliteratur in a reading of a selection of his conversations with Johann Peter Eckermann and a few associated essays.
World literature is used to refer to the total of the world's national literature and the circulation of works into the wider world beyond their country of origin. In the past, it primarily referred to the masterpieces of Western European literature; however, world literature today is increasingly seen in an international context. Now, readers have access to a wide range of global works in various translations.
To what extent is there a Western Canon in today's world of globalization?
Online Text 1 Link:
Online Text 2 Link:
- Alice Munro’s “Too Much Happiness” (2009) — Short Story DiscussionLink visible for attendees
Alice Munro is a Canadian writer who was dubbed a "master of the contemporary short story" when she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013. She is the recipient of many other literary accolades, including the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement and is a three-time winner of the Governor General's Award, Canada's highest literary honour. Much of Munro's work is set in Canada and concerns the lives of everyday people.
The British Council's directory of writers describes her work as follows: "One Alice Munro short story has the power of many novels. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is irrelevant. Every word glows. Munro is able to capture the shape and mood, the flavour of a life in 30 pages. She is wholly without cliché... Munro has talked about ‘the complexity of things, the things within things’. She teases the surface, until all that is hidden, all those tucked away pivots of a life, are revealed..."
This is a series of occasional meetups (hosted by the Toronto Philosophy Meetup group) to discuss Alice Munro's short stories.
This time we will discuss “Too Much Happiness” (2009), a fictional retelling of the life of the 19th century Russian mathematician Sofia Kovalevskaya, who made important contributions to partial differential equations and classical mechanics.
Please read the story in advance (⚠ around 65 pages, so not THAT short ⚠). A pdf copy is available here.
Stories by Munro we've previously discussed in this group:
- The Bear Came Over the Mountain (1999)
- A Real Life (1992)
- Wood (2009)
- The Albanian Virgin (1995)
- A Wilderness Station (1992)
- Differently (1989)
- Miles City, Montana (1985)
Note: We'll be joined by other participants from the Toronto Philosophy Meetup at this meeting – https://www.meetup.com/the-toronto-philosophy-meetup/events/297672690/
- Anton Chekhov Seminar Session 14Link visible for attendees
Please join us for a complete read through over the next several months of a complete set of 201 short stories by Anton Chekhov continuing with Stories 055-059: A Nightmare, Grisha, Love, Easter Eve, and Ladies.
Online Text Link:
- Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthyLink visible for attendees
Come join us as we work through the work of this modernist giant! We'll start with The Orchard Keeper and work our way up to The Road. Now on Outer Dark! This will be a discussion group, so all members should come with questions for the reading. While it's great to have a variety of folx come to the meetings, a preponderance of listeners will limit the potential conversations we can have. So, yes, please come having read and ready to discuss! I'll be using the Vintage edition for all citations. But feel free to bring whatever copy you like!
Meeting 1: Pgs 1-50
Meeting 2: Pgs 51-94
Meeting 3: Pgs 94-127
Meeting 4: Pgs 129-183
Meeting 5: Pgs 184-212
Meeting 6: Pgs 212- 242