Fleming Foundation Presents The Plutocrat October 20th

Booth Tarkington's

The Plutocrat


Dear Friend and Fellow-Reader:

We invite you to attend the next evening in the Boethius Book Series, which will be held on Thursday October 20, 2016. The evening will commence promptly with drinks and hors d’oeuvres served at 5:00, at my house: 2719 Highcrest Road, Rockford. The cost is $15 per person, $25 per couple.

September’s selection—three early dialogues of Plato—proved to be something less than a hit with our readers. “It’s too early to go back to school,” lamented one, while another complained, “It gave me a headache.” Now that I know it is our Constitutional right as Americans to remain in a summer somnolence I am happy to announce that school is back in session and for October we are reading Booth Tarkington’s The Plutocrat, a very funny novel about a vulgar businessman on a Mediterranean cruise with a bunch of progressive art-snobs who despise him. In the end, the Plutocrat turns out to be more like a noble Roman than a mere vulgarian. It has a certain contemporary relevance.

If you have not read much Tarkington, then this will be a great treat. If you have read a lot, then you don’t need much encouragement. If you don’t trust my judgment on this book, perhaps you will listen to Mark Kennedy, who picked it up on Saturday morning and called me after 100 pages to tell me how much he was enjoying the book. There is no online or Kindle availability, but it is everywhere in secondhand bookstores and can be ordered through ABE for $8 on up, including shipping.

Please try to arrive on time, if it is possible. Nonetheless, because we know that many of you have busy schedules, we welcome late arrivals. The discussion will begin at 5:45 sharp with a brief introduction followed by a fairly free-wheeling conversation. We shall break up no later than 7:15. Those who wish may join us for a Dutch-treat supper downtown. Hopefully, by then, Mrs. Fleming may be in shape to go out.

In November, we are returning to Trollope and will read his first truly great novel, Barchester Towers, which happens to be a sequel to The Warden. For December we have selected the Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes. This short epic poem is the classic telling of Jason and the Argonauts, filled with fantasy and adventure. In its day, it was somewhat avant-garde in concentrating more on character and feeling than on plot. Readers of the Aeneid will realize how deeply impressed Vergil must have been.

The book evenings will be on vacation in January and February, while Gail and I are in South Carolina. Plans are being solidified, however, for a two day discussion of Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley in Charleston, beginning Friday February 10th. For January, I am planning to do a podcast on Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas plus a selection of a few of his essays. Dr. Johnson is among the most important unenlightened writers in the English language

If you have attended one of the previous discussions, please feel free to bring a first-time guest at no extra cost. We only ask to be informed at least several days in advance.

Please let us know in advance if you are coming, but, because of the informal nature of the programs, and my wfe’s graciousness, we are happy to accommodate walk-ins. Call me (815) 621-5700 (a voice mail message is adequate if we miss your call) or email me at Thomas@Fleming.Foundation to reserve a seat.

We look forward to seeing you on October 20.

Faithfully yours,

Thomas J. Fleming

PS. Gold subscribers to www.Fleming.Foundation can listen to recordings of the Boethius Book Series.