Sunday Salon - What is the purpose of a Salon?

This is usually a place where I gripe or tell you what I am doing on a particular Sunday morning.  But due to an amazing discussion that was taking place between a few of us on Saturday night, I thought I would do a bit of a history of the Salon and maybe a few thoughts of my own.

Basically, the premise of the Salon was to exchange of ideas through conversation.   While some of us may think of it as a place where artists would show works that in the 1800s, primarily those of the Expressionists, it started in Italy in the 16th century, flourishing in France in the 17th and 18th centuries and continuing on in Italy throughout the 19th century.

Réunion de damesAbraham Bosse, 17th century.
They were very similar to the English coffeehouses, in which people would gather in a public place to gather for conversation and commerce, which were started in Oxford in the mid-17th century as a place for like-minded scholars to gather together to talk, read, as well as learn from and debate each other for about a penny; it was a way of allowing individuals to have social intercourse, gossip, scholastic interest and sober discussion, which subsequently spread quickly to London.

While the Salon basically has disappeared in what it was back in the 16th and 17th centuries, the internet has allowed for this sort of Salon to flourish through the various message boards and blogs that now proliferate on a variety of topics.

Which brings me to our little group.  I really think that this group has an important purpose, not only because a number of us love to read and have a passion for books, in making sure that we are able to converse on a number of topics in a way that makes us feel valued, even if we may not always agree on things. 

Books finished since my last Sunday Salon: 
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
• Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley
• Levels of Life by Julian Barnes

Books reviewed:
• The Orenda by Joseph Boyden (review)
• Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal (review)

Books I hope to finish this week:
• Mrs. Hemingway
(I am basically reading my won books at this point)

PS If you are wondering, most of my information about the Salon and the English Coffeehouse, along with Réunion de dames, came from that lovely source called Wikipedia.


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