A man of many works

May 4, 2017 13:08

What sort of Israeli man would contribute to a resurgence of music and literary salons? Dan Shorer.

Dan Shorer

Dan Shorer. (photo credit: PR)

In Europe, once upon a time, there was something called a “salon.” Wikipedia, our ever- growing repository of knowledge on the Internet, tells us that a salon was “a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace’s definition of the aims of poetry, ‘either to please or to educate.’”

Invented in Italy in the 16th century – where they were often held in bedrooms in which the hostess reclined on her bed – salons soon found a home in France, where they flourished as forums for literature and philosophy in the 17th and 18th centuries. Salons continued to be elite gatherings of intellectuals, artists, musicians, and literati in 19th century France, as well as in Germany, where the hostesses were often Jewish ladies. While the salon phenomenon achieved its greatest expression during these centuries before the prevalence of mass communication, a few salons managed to struggle well into the 20th century – most notably that of Gertrude Stein, whose Paris salon hosted the likes of Pablo Picasso and Alice B. Toklas.


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