Sunday Salons

Columbus School for Girls Sunday Salons began in 2010 and present an opportunity for the CSG community to gather three times over the course of each school year in order to discuss various works of history, literature, politics, international relations, religion, and science.

Books and articles that are chosen for the Sunday Salons are classic in nature or that present opportunities to reflect with greater perspective on current events or ideas of interest and importance.

Sunday Salons:

  • Provide discussion managed by the facilitating Columbus School for Girls faculty member.
  • Take place on Sunday afternoons and are hosted by the Head of School, Liza Lee, in her residence.
  • Are opportunities for parents from every division to engage with the CSG faculty and to connect with ideas that are currently flowing through the school as an inherent part of our curriculum.
  • Local alumnae will find this a great way to rejoin discussions that were perhaps begun with their teachers several years ago, but now with time and perspective, have gained greater currency and importance.
  • Are open to all members of the CSG community including current and former parents, alumnae, Board members, administration, and faculty (current and emeriti), as well as invited guests who may offer unique perspectives for the discussion

Sunday, October 27: Frankenstein

Sunday, October 27 (1:30-3:30): Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

On a challenge at age eighteen, Mary Shelley began to write a “ghost story” that would go far beyond the parameters of fear to engage readers in a broader discussion of creation and responsibility.Its questions delve deep into the heart of human existence and challenge our attempts to define life, death, and moral action.As Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s “hideous creation” kills and sweeps through the vast Romantic panorama of nature, the novel forces us to consider questions that remain controversial today.What are the goals of science?How do scientists sometimes alter destiny by defying established societal parameters for the ultimate benefit of humankind?Or is this simply a rationalization?Should scientists like Albert Einstein or Wernher von Braun be considered heroes, “creative divinities,” whose reason and method overcome the moral barriers imposed by religion?Is there always a price to pay for scientific discovery?

Sunday, March 9 (1:30-3:30 p.m.): Homer, Selections from the Iliad.

Sunday, March 9 (1:30-3:30 p.m.):  Homer, Selections from the Iliad. 

Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses, hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls, great fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion, feasts for the dogs and birds, and the will of Zeus was moving toward its end. Begin, Muse, when the two first broke and clashed. Agamemnon lord of men and brilliant Achilles.

   —Homer (Robert Fagels’ Translation)

The greatest literature in world history rarely requires formal introduction.This powerful drama of the Trojan War was handed down in many versions over several centuries before being compiled, perhaps by a poet whom history has called Homer, about 750-725 B.C.E. when the Greeks had just adopted an alphabetic system of writing.Great literature on the first try! Please join us as CSG Latin and Greek teacher, Chelsea Bowden, helps us appreciate the language and human dilemmas at the core of the Iliad.We will focus on a few selected excerpts (about 180 total pages) to reveal and define the depth of this great work.Whether you had a chance to read the Iliad in high school, or perhaps as a college student looking for relevance in time of war, or simply have always wanted to commune with greatness, now is your chance to engage.

The Iliad Reading Guide

Sunday, April 27 (Alumnae Weekend 1:30-3:30 p.m.): George Orwell: Burmese Days

Sunday, April 27 (Alumnae Weekend 1:30-3:30 p.m.): George Orwell: Burmese Days

George Orwell is deservedly honored and admired for his most famous political novels, 1984 and Animal Farm.But this reverence often deflects the quality of much of his earlier work as a novelist and social critic.He wrote Burmese Days in 1934 amidst the waning influence of British imperialism during the 1920s.Having served with the Imperial Police in Burma, Orwell was quite familiar with Burmese society and the British attitude toward their subjects.In this novel, we get a feel for the difficult environment of Burma and the insular network of a small group of elitist functionaries who inhabit Kyauktada (Katha), an obscure Burmese outpost north of Rangoon.

This novel is a commentary on duty and status, on racist pride, and devastating loneliness. We will supplement this short novel with a few excerpts from Pulitzer-prize winning historian, Margaret Macmillan’s Women of the Raj, an insightful portrait of British mothers, wives, and daughters who, as memsahibs (“the master’s women”), managed life for their families in Imperial India from 1830-1947.Both works lay the foundation for political and social life in modern Myanmar and India where women ironically continue to lead and to struggle.Indeed, South Asia is a centerpiece of emergent thinking amidst colonial roots.This salon should be a real opportunity to combine great literature and history with relevant threads in the international arena.

Burmese Days