Saturday, 8 December 2007

Brussels Brontë reading group

Our reading group, launched in September 2007, has got off to a successful start, proving that there is plenty of interest in reading the classics of English literature. Unlike most reading groups which concentrate on modern fiction, ours offers the opportunity to actually read those works sitting on your shelves that you’ve always intended to tackle one day!

There are about twelve of us and we meet every few weeks for informal discussion of the latest book read. We have an interesting mix of members of all ages and several different nationalities, with a majority of native English speakers.

Since this was an initiative of our Brontë group we felt we had to start with a Brontë work and so our first book was Charlotte Brontë’s Brussels novel The Professor, which few had read before. We will be reading a mixture of Brontë and other 19th century authors including Jane Austen, Dickens, Trollope, Mrs Gaskell and George Eliot. At our most recent meeting we talked about Jane Austen’s Emma and the next work on our list is Bleak House.

Some Victorian novels (Bleak House is a case in point) are very long and since many of our members have busy schedules, we will alternate long works with shorter ones. We feel confident that the time invested in reading these masterpieces of English literature will be rewarded both by the merit of the works themselves and the stimulus of discussing them with the other group members.

If you would like to join the reading group contact Helen MacEwan at helen.macewan@ec.europa.eu.