CONVIVIUM = “sharing life together” = Toronto Pursuits 2011

CONVIVIUM – convĭ’vĭ um

In Latin, it literally means “sharing life together.” Convivium has  come to refer to a banquet with emphasis on richly prepared and novel food, the partaking of which was a pleasure – a conviviality – which would be accompanied by a generous flow of wines. A  Convivium is also any academic conference or a style of university class characterized by an openly discursive format, rather than a lecture and question-answer format. Convivium has been the name of the Classical Pursuits newsletter from the outset. A Toronto blogger about words wrote in 2008  that she finds the word Convivium highfalutin. Personally, I love the sound and meaning of Convivium and think it absolutely apt for what takes place at Classical Pursuits.

We have concluded our 13th year of Toronto Pursuits.

Kathleen Metcalf & Priscilla Healy

Mark Cwik, Julia Zarankin & Iain Scott

Mark Aller-Stead & Gary Schoepfel

Whether it was exploring the antics and adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza or how Benjamin Britten adapted great works of literature into opera, or what Plato has to say about love and friendship, we were a most convivial bunch. Here is a slide show of us in Convivium. Warm thanks to Maxine Sidran for capturing so well the warm and welcoming ambiance at Toronto Pursuits.

You be the judge if we look highfalutin.

And although the modus operandi of our morning seminars is informal discussion, we do have a rich banquet of optional cultural, social and recreational activities each afternoon and evening. I thought you might be interested in the notes from an afternoon talk by seminar leader Nancy Carr, “Five Reasons to Befriend Virginia Woolf.”  Nancy’s morning seminar was devoted to discussion of Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse and A Room of One’s Own. Her talk aquainted those in other seminars with the lure Woolf’s work has for Nancy.

Deep thanks to the great many of you who offered thoughtful suggestions for next year’s line-up. Several of us spent a recent afternoon sorting and sifting bits of paper with all of your ideas. Here is what we have come up with. Details will be posted on the website in late August. I hope you find a number of tantalizing options. Many of them involve adapation into other media, such as film or music or stage.

1.   David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
2.   A History of God by Karen Armstrong
3.   Selected poetry of WB Yeats and Seamus Heaney
4.   The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
5.   Selected essays by Michel de Montaigne
6.   Naughty Women in Literature and Film
7.   Holy Longing: Seeking the Divine in Short Fiction
8.   Revenge and Justice in Ancient Greek Drama
9.   Big Russian novel
10. Actors Need Not Apply – Several plays plus coaching
11. MUSIC – The Concerto: Studies in Contrast
12. ART – Ways of Seeing by John Berger

Not to early to mark your calendar for July 15-20, 2012.

Celebrating the old country

Now, for something silly. Many of you many have see the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which was filmed in Toronto. This is not THAT house, but it too is part of our sometimes whacky multi-cultural makeup. I snapped this with my phone this morning while returning home by an unaccustomed route from a Pilates class. Too good not to share.

I will be off to Newfoundland with a Travel Pursuits group next week and hope to be able to report from the road. Fall is a lovely time to travel. We still have a spot or two in our last two trips of 2011.

Sachertorte and Paprikash: Musical Meanderings along the Blue Danube

Art and Life in Renaissance Florence: And Why It Continues to Matter

Call Laurielle Penny at Worldwide Quest  for details. 1.800.387.1483.




  1. Sounds like it was a wonderful week! Great brainstorming of topics, too. They all sound good, but naughty women…er, um, appeal to me…

  2. That was a wonderful slide show! I’m interested in being a presenter on the topic of emotional fitness. Our society emphasizes physical fitness, not emotional fitness, and we’re paying a dear price for that. I lead fun, interactive presentations using the cartoons from my book, (art), and music for the soul. Hope you enjoy my website. (see above)

    The Newfoundland Trip sounds very appealing.
    I wish everyone a good time out East.

  3. ann sofia says:

    Dear Ann adn Gary,
    I had such a great time as always this year. Right now, i will not be joining you next year—3 weeks in sicily with my children instead…thanks to Nella, we we have a much more informed time. I am not happy about missing Toronto and my summer friends, but June was already booked solid for the trip we wanted!
    Don’t forget me
    Ann Sofia

  4. Fay Goldstep says:

    This was my 10th wonderful year at Toronto Pursuits, the best ever!! I have not missed a single one since I started and I don’t intend to in the future. Many of the topics sound great but my heart belongs to the big Russian novel. Thanks for 10 great summers Ann.

  5. Loved Toronto sites & blogs.

    Interesting….who are the naughty women in Literature & film???

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