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September 25, 2019 Italian Language Meetiing

September 25, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Robert Thomson

Florence, Dante, and Me

Robert Thomson from Victoria, Canada will be presenting his recently publishedbook, Florence, Dante and Me. Thomson spent the 1960-61 year in Italy ona scholarship from the Italian government. During the year he wrote many detailed letters to his fidanzata in Canada, telling her about Italian customs and habits, the Italian friends he made, the cities he visited, the operas he attended, his singing lessons, etc. Early in the year Thomson decided to speak Italian only for the whole year. This served him well throughout his life.

In 2017 he took the letters and photos and made theminto a book. He will be reading passages from his book and showing some ofthe best photos. To read passages and see some of the photos visit Thomson’s site: www.godwinbooks.com

Robert Thomson was born in Vancouver, B.C. in 1940. He fell in love with Italian in 1951 when he saw “The Great Caruso” starring Mario Lanza at his local movie theater. In 1962 he took his B.A. in French and Italian at the University of British Columbia then received his PhD from Yale in 1966.

Thomson had a long and varied career in teaching (e.g. The Universityof Toronto, The University of Illinois and various high schools). He tookearly retirement in 1995.

His main books are: “Italian for the Opera” (1990), “Operatic Italian” (2009). Both books use extracts from operas to illustrate their language points; Thomson’s main goal was to analyze them in detail to show the richness of Italian librettos. The reader will also find chapters such as “What is lost in the translation?”; “How do you appreciate a libretto?”; “The influence of Dante”; and “A quick look at Neapolitan.” In 2015 Thomson published “Love Songs in Spanish” which comes with a CD and is useful as a tool to improve pronunciation.

At the moment he is finishing a book on how to teach English using audio-visual tools and multi-media sources. He now lives in Victoria, B.C. Asked who his favorite Italian authors are, Thomson replied “Dante and Alberto Moravia.”


September 25, 2019
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:



2021-2022 Season

Live Meeting COVID Guidelines

Even as COVID variants continue to plague the population, we are trying to return to offering live meetings for Dante this season. We’ve all been longing for a return to shared meals, and since this is foundational to Dante activities, we want to make it possible. Following the guidelines and regulations now in place by many workplaces, public venues and community groups, the Dante Board of Directors has agreed to the guidelines listed below as an acceptable plan to keep us as safe as possible when meeting in person. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by these regulations and will continue to stay current as the season evolves. If things get better, we may be able to loosen up the current plans. But meanwhile, we ask that Dante members and those from our wider mailing list cooperate with the plans as outlined below. These are also in keeping with the rules provided by St. Clements, our new residence.

1) Mandatory proof of full vaccination is required for anyone attending any live Dante Meeting. This applies to members, presenters, cooks and guests. Please bring a photo or photocopy of your COVID card with you when you come to any meeting. Dante is not set up to offer secure web-site proof, where you can upload a photo, as some workplaces are able to do. Please just bring the photo on your phone or a photocopy of the card with you. We will make the check-in process as streamlined as possible, hopefully needing to screen your proof only once.

2) Obviously – please do not attend if you have been exposed to COVID, or are experiencing any symptoms of illness. We will make best efforts to record the presentations so that those who cannot attend in person can enjoy them afterwards. There will also be a few meetings presented on ZOOM instead of live this season, for all to enjoy like last year.

3) Masks should be worn at all times at meetings except when seated for dining. This roughly follows the current Washington State rules for indoor restaurant dining and is in line with St. Clements current practice. We will have the windows and doors open as possible in our downstairs dining area. Presentations will take place in the upstairs sanctuary where there is more room for seating at distanced intervals. Presenters can unmask for their talks, as they will be distanced from those seated.

4) Those preparing and/or bringing food to meetings: please mask and wash hands in the preparation of food to be shared. Pre-Dante-Pasta chefs will stay masked in the kitchen. For anyone bringing antipasti or desserts: please portion for individual servings; avoid serving common dips, spreads etc. Food (including bread, cookies, etc) will be served with utensils. Hand sanitizer will be provided and we ask that we all use it each time we return to the table.

Thank you again for your understanding and observance of these guidelines. Let’s eliminate COVID contagion together!!!