Julia Larden

Julia for WebsiteI have been teaching adults  since 1982.   I teach both English Literature and Film Studies.  On the English Literature side I have taught numerous nineteenth and twentieth century novel courses and Poetry and Drama courses.  Other areas of interest include Shakespeare, Women Writers, Frankenstein and Pygmalion narratives.  I have been teaching a two-hour weekly course at Solihull for Warwick Open Studies: ‘Reading the Novel’ since 2006.   I have an Open University BA in Arts and Social Sciences, a BA in English,  University of Birmingham, and an MA (English and Women’s Studies) University of Lancaster.

SPRING  2019:  STONER  by John Williams

This  five-week course will run for alternative weeks throughout the spring  term of 2019 from Thursday January 17th, 2019.


Written in 1965 John Williams’s novel Stoner became a moderate success which quickly faded into obscurity until it was rediscovered 50 years later, to become an unexpected best-seller.

Stoner is the story of a quiet and unassuming academic: an English Literature specialist originally from an agricultural background.  He discovers an unexpected affinity with Literature whilst taking a compulsory supplementary course as part of his agricultural studies. Many have found the account of William Stoner’s unassuming and not particularly happy life powerful and haunting.  Reviewing the novel for the New Yorker in 2013 Tim Kreider writes:

Part of “Stoner” ’s greatness is that it sees life whole and as it is, without delusion yet without despair. Stoner realizes at the last that he found what he sought at the university not in books but in his love and study of them, not in some obscure scholarly Grail but in its pursuit. His life has not been squandered in mediocrity and obscurity; his undistinguished career has not been mulish labor but an act of devotion. He has been a priest of literature, and given himself as fully as he could to the thing he loved.

The rest of the New Yorker piece is here and there is also a Guardian Review here by Julian Barnes Similarly impressed Barnes wrote that Stoner was the ‘must read’ novel of 2013.

Film?  There is as yet no film of this novel, but a film  starring Casey Affleck and directed by Joe Wright, is scheduled for release in 2020 in 2020

The Group

This is a friendly, well-established, study group where new faces are always welcomed.  Classes are run to a lively, tutor-led discussion based, format where, after introductions to the author and set texts, students concentrate on a set portion of the text each week and consider pre-selected extracts in order to discuss a range of questions and topics both those planned by the tutor and those introduced by themselves.

Additional Learning Resources

Students take away a set of pre-prepared student notes at the end of every session.

For registered students, there is also a course website (not visible to the general public) with a new post for every session.  Here a range of additional materials, including a summary of main points in texts, videos, where available, and  links to critical texts for further reading appear.  Some time after each session a brief summary of the session is added together with a downloadable copy of the student notes.  Student contributions to this are always welcome.

Venue

Solihull Methodist Church Centre, Blossomfield Road, Solihull, B91  1GL

Getting ThereOn a Map No matter how you plan to travel, this is a very accessible venue. The centre is next to Solihull Station), Satellite  Close-Up (The Church Centre is the long building on the right of the station).  Car drivers appreciate the fact that the centre stands in its own car park.  By Train: trains run regularly from Birmingham Snow Hill, Birmingham Moor Street,  Acocks Green, Widney Manor and Dorridge.  Check times with Chiltern Railways here.   Buses: The following numbers stop within yards of the Methodist Centre: 3, 4, 5, 6,  42, 49, 57, 57A, 71, 76, 82, 169, 966, 966A, S1, S2, S3, S4, S7, S9, S11.  For more bus info call Network West Midlands on 0871 200 22 33.

Course Fee

£45.00.

What Should I Buy?

Having the same version of the text as the teacher and the rest of the class is a huge help for ‘singing from the same hymn sheet reasons’.  We will be skipping around in the text a lot and precious minutes can be lost if a few people are struggling with different page numbering.   We will be using this  edition of the novel.

Are there any other charges?

Coffee and biscuits is offered at a cost of 25p per student.  This is collected weekly.  There are no other charges.

How do I join the course?


Buy Now Button

 

Note: if you are given the options: ‘pay with debit or credit card you may be offered a screen for the US.  Choose the UK from the drop-down box options.

This method should be simplest for both sides, but, if you really prefer, drop me a line using the form below and I can send you an enrolment form.  You may also use this form if you have any other questions about the course.  (You don’t need to fill in the website bit!)

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