The Oxford Muse

The idea for Conversation Dinners comes from the work of the historian Theodore Zeldin, founder of The Oxford Muse (

Among other works, Theodore Zeldin wrote An Intimate History of Humanity,  which could be said to reinterpret human history from a perspective of interpersonal relationship. As Zeldin writes in his introduction, “To have a new vision of the future, it has always first been necessary to have a new vision of the past.”

Why “Muse?” From

“The Muses of mythology were not teachers or lawmakers but catalysts who brought excitement and a divine spark into everyday lives, enabling people to see and to say what normally they dared not; they asked not for worship but to be celebrated in festivity, banquets, song and dance. Our aim is to enable people to become muses to one another.”

We at Conversation Dinners PDX share this aim with the hope that we can promote mutual understanding, respect, and friendship in our community.

The Oxford Muse organization sponsors a wide variety of activities worldwide. Conversation Dinners are only one of these, and the ideas behind the dinners are described succintly in another book by Theodore Zeldin, “Conversation: How Talk Can Change Our Lives,”

To learn more about these ideas and inspiring activities, I highly recommend visiting and reading one or both of these fascinating books.