The Romantic Movement: a four day philosophy retreat at the residential Gladstone’s Library with Tom Hodgkinson and Dr Mark Vernon
Following the sold-out success of our first philosophy retreat at the wonderful Gladstone’s Library, Idler editor Tom Hodgkinson and author Mark Vernon have concocted a brilliant four day programme of philosophical talks. Our “romantic” retreat will take in the great idlers of the ancient world – Socrates, Christ – and the history of anarchism. We will focus on the Romantic movement in philosophy, and its main practitioners, including Coleridge, Goethe and Byron. So if you have ever felt that philosophy has been taken over by the dry dictates of utility, come and join us for a life-changing few days.
On this philosophy retreat, we will explore poetry and the importance of imagination, inner life and existentialism, the impact of the Romantic movement on politics and science, and also have space and time to consider what this might mean for us now, in areas like psychology and religion, mythology and the environment.
Location: we’ll be staying at Gladstone’s Library in North Wales, Britain’s finest residential library and viral sensation on Buzzfeed. Founded by William Gladstone to house his huge collection of theological works, it is the perfect place for philosophical reflection and study, surrounded by lush Welsh countryside. The library is located just a few miles from Chester. Our price includes all meals, acccommodation and classes.
About the tutors
Tom Hodgkinson is editor of the Idler, which he founded in 1993, and author of the best-selling manuals, How to be Idle and How to be Free. Other books include a book on smallholding called Brave Old World, a book on parenting, the Ukulele Handbook and, most recently, a manual for creative entrepreneurs, Business for Bohemians.
Dr Mark Vernon is a psychotherapist with a private practice in London, as well as working at the Maudsley Hospital. He is also a writer, broadcaster and teacher, and has been teaching philosophy at the Idler Academy for many years, both live and online. He has a PhD in philosophy, and degrees in theology and physics. His most recent books include – The Idler Guide To Ancient Philosophy (Idler Books), Love: All That Matters (Hodder) and Jung: How To Believe (Guardian Shorts).
Thursday 29th November
2-4pm – Check in and afternoon tea
6pm – What is philosophy? Tom Hodgkinson on the birth of a new science in ancient Athens, with special reference to Socrates and Plato’s Symposium.
7.15pm – Dinner
8.30pm – Introductions. We discuss who we all are and the purpose of the retreat.
Friday 30th November
9.30am – Anarchy and Romance. Tom Hodgkinson offers a history of anarchism from the ancient world to William Godwin, Kropotkin, Oscar Wilde, John Lennon and the Sex Pistols, and shows that as a political philosophy, anarchism is romantic and anti-utilitarian.
11am – Coffee
11.30am – The History of Gladstone’s Library with warden Peter Francis. Tom interviews Peter on William Gladstone’s vision of a place for retreat and his idea of liberal values.
1pm – Lunch
2pm – Rest and study break
4pm – Tom and Mark Vernon takes a tea time class on the English anti-Enlightenment: Wordsworth and Coleridge, Blake and Byron, and the importance of imagination
7pm – Dinner
8pm – Film: screening of Amadeus
Saturday 1st December
10am – The German anti-enlightenment: Goethe, the invention of love (looking at the Sorrows of Young Werther), and Romantic approaches to science
11.15am – Coffee break
11.45am – Existentialism: the 20th century’s response, looking at figures like Nietzsche and Sartre
1pm – Lunch
2-4pm – Walk across Gladstone’s park
4pm – Psychology: the 20th century’s response, looking at figures like Freud, Jung and Winnicott. With Mark and Tom.
7pm – To local hostelry Glynne Arms for drinks and feast
Sunday 2nd December
10am – Religion: The importance of felt experience and the rise of the spiritual but not religious with Tom and Mark
11.15am – Coffee
11.30am – Mythology: the 20th century’s response through the eyes of the Oxford Inklings and the revival of fable and mythology
1pm – Lunch
2pm – Conclusions and goodbyes
3pm – Ends
Terms and Conditions
If a booking is cancelled within 7 days of the Retreat, 100% charges will apply. If a booking is cancelled between 8-28 days prior, 75% charges will apply. If a booking is cancelled 29 days to 91 days in advance, 50% charges will apply. Further than 91 days prior, no charges will apply. Please ensure that you have insurance to cover a cancellation or a curtailed stay.