Sandra Ens has taught Robertson Davies to many English students. Now it’s our turn to find out why! Davies’ style of writing has been out of favour: He uses long sentences and depicts a non-multicultural Canada of times gone by. Yet, his paragraphs, full of literary allusions, can be “unpacked” by an intelligent reader. Is that not us?
Sandra explained that Robertson Davies’ humour is gentle and never malicious. You won’t find many gags. Stories build, characters are well-developed and timing is everything to reveal truth in an unexpected light. Sandra reminded us that truth lies at the heart of comedy, that dying is easy but comedy is hard — and that it takes great skill by an author.
Davies’ comedy is in a SHAKESPEAREAN TRADITION: Satire is to seek improvement and solutions (see also ARISTOPHANES) but delivered through characters that are larger than life, exuberant and expound about life. Laughs will follow!
For her presentation on November 20, Anne Tingle took us back in time to the Golden Age of ancient Greece, and the plays of Aristophanes.
After an engrossing explanation of Aristophanes and his times, Anne surprised many of us with a Reader’s Theatre. Contrary to Greek times, she had assembled an all-female cast (several of our members and a guest) to read parts of Lysistrata, her favourite Aristophanes’ play. Hilarity ensued!
Anne disclosed she was using a turn-of-the-century (i.e. circa 1900) translation for the (relative) comfort of her readers and audience. A 2005 translation was apparently even racier! What a “reveal!” More laughs!
Cultures have changed, but how recognisable are human characteristics, despite a span of 2400+ years!
Aristophanes used satire and farce to highlight the need for peace, order and good government. Although there is no evidence he had influence politically, his artistic influence is incredible, and his plays are still performed.
We were so honoured by the presence of two Calgary authors on October 23rd. Poet Rosemary Griebel introduced Marcello Di Cintio, who was in the midst of his three-month tenure, delivering programs, mentoring aspiring and established writers and presenting to august audiences such as the CWLC! [CLICK HERE to learn about Rosemary’s “Literary Bookmark” in Inglewood.]
Growing up, Marcello described himself as a science nerd who liked to write stories: He graduated with dual degrees, English and Microbiology. Shortly after, he volunteered in Ghana to teach biology for three months, then travelled the next nine. His first published writing was an article in City Palate about weird food he ate while travelling, and Africa inspired his first book, Harmattan: Wind Across West Africa. He was completely hooked on travel.
Trying to get his first book published, he got some very sage advice from a publisher: That his books should reflect not a traveller who writes, but a writer who travelled. And does he travel, but not to easy-going resort destinations! Following his time in Africa, he has been drawn to the Middle East, Persian culture, and the concept of walls as barriers and the people who live along them.
In discussing his most recent book, Pay No Heed to the Rockets, Marcello mentioned he has visited Israel and Palestine nine times. He connected with writers and others in the literary world, who provided him with “a backstage pass” to interesting people. He sought to bring a fresh perspective from individuals in conflict-riddled areas: ageing poets, young novelists (not a common writing form in that culture,) a Bedouin writer of a fairy tale that won the Astrid Lundgrun prize, a teenager who writes on Facebook… To follow more of Marcello’s illuminating, inspiring journeys and writings PLEASE CLICK HERE You will find Marcello Di Cintio is, without a doubt, a writer who has travelled!
There is one last Favourite Author to post, shared by Marcia Century in April 2018. Marcia’s favourite genre is crime fiction and her favourite author is Donna Leon. Almost none in the audience have read this author, and we are grateful Marcia made this recommendation!
Donna Leon was born in New Jersey in 1942. This is the only consistent fact Marcia found in her research. The author has lived her adult life between Venice and Switzerland, where her books were published in German. Leon refuses to have her books published in Italian to retain her privacy in Venice. Her works are translated in 35 languages.
Since Marcia’s presentation, a new novel (29th in the series) has come out. In other words, her non-stereotypical Commissario has solved more than a major crime a year in Venice since 1992. Yes, this author was first published at 50! She finds writing effortless, doing one scene every morning and starting the next one before turning off the computer. Critics call her prose “exquisite.” Marcia described her writing as intelligent, intense, subtle, funny, satirical and angry — “character studies wrapped around the heart of a mystery.” There are three more Donna Leon books to discover: a cookbook, a book of essays on Venice and a multi-sensory publication of music, painting and the literary arts.
Could it be the polar vortex that is making our club’s winter break seem so long? I know that I, for one, am really looking forward to resuming our weekly meetings. And having said that, I am very pleased to announce that the first meeting of The Calgary Women’s Literary Club will take place on Tuesday, MARCH 5th. Our usual meeting space is reserved, Lynn Koltutsky and Flora Spackman have volunteered to bring refreshments and Sandra Ens is looking forward to presenting her paper. The tea and coffee will be on and I look forward to seeing everyone again. Until then, do stay warm. A Chinook or spring is just around the corner.
Another Celebration! In December, we returned to Amica to enjoy our annual Winter Party. CWLC former president Ruth Hilland opened the meeting with a few poignant words of welcome. She reflected on the grand tradition and history of our club. A selection of readings was provided by three fun-loving ladies, Sandra Ens, Shawna Mattison and Moorea Gray who brought the audience to their feet! Encores ensued. Cathy Redfern presented each club member with a Getting To Know You booklet, a collection of member profiles compiled by an energetic Executive, driven by the desire to know each other more fully. By Doloris Duval, President
The club is taking a hiatus, with no formal meetings until the spring. We will reconvene on March 5, 2019 to continue an exploration of the Role of Humor, Satire and Irony in Literature.
The women of the Calgary Women’s Literary Club have been very busy celebrating over the past few weeks!
In November, Christine Gingerick and Robin Padanyi hosted our group on a private tour of the breathtaking new Calgary Public Library. We learned behind the scenes information about the design and construction of the building itself and about the evolving philosophies surrounding libraries today. Our tour concluded with Robin guiding the group to our very own CALGARY WOMEN’S LITERARY CLUB window on which the dedication reads:
Donated by members past and present of The Calgary Women’s Literary Club, established 1906.