Judi always entertains us (impresses us!) enormously with her multimedia presentations, and this time she chose P.G. Wodehouse for her subject. She admitted that even though her mother is British, she didn’t know P.G. Wodehouse until this presentation. She prefers non-fiction, but found P.G. Wodehouse’s humour wonderfully diverting, with something memorable in every book.
P.G. Wodehouse is the most widely acclaimed English humorist of the 20th Century. Born in 1881, he had a rather forbidding Victorian childhood. At five, his parents lived in Hong Kong while he and his brothers were boarded, passed from hand to hand. At 12, he achieved greater stability. He was boarded at Dulwich College (“heaven”) and shortly after, his parents returned to England. At 19, he spent two years at Oxford with a brother, worked briefly in a Hong Kong bank and wrote at night. Already by 1902, he was writing full-time for The Globe.
Although first and foremost a novelist, P.G. Wodehouse began in 1904 as a lyricist of American musicals, and continued working over three decades with the likes of Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern. In fact, he lived much of his life in the United States. However, his quintessential character was the English valet Jeeves (who appeared in novels from 1915-1974) and his novels throw a humorous light on upper and middle-class England of the 20th Century.
In 1934 Wodehouse moved to France, was taken prisoner in 1940 by the Germans. Some radio broadcasts he made (apolitical, comic) sent from Germany to the U.S. during the war made him suspect in Britain and he never returned. He went back to Paris in 1943 and returned to the U.S. after the war, becoming an American citizen in 1955.
Cathy Redfern, how we miss your sense of humour! You introduced many of us to the writer Catherine Gildiner in your latest presentation last November. I won’t say “last” because we hope life will bring you back our way!
Catherine Gildiner has written lively, funny, fascinating memoirs (1999, 2010, 2014) — and occasionally pens serious books: Seduction (2005) and her latest Good Morning Monster (2019), both which draw upon her primary profession of clinical psychologist. She is currently working on Underground (working title) about the underground railway to Canada.
Catherine Gildiner has led a most singular life, and Cathy Redfern’s favourite books are the author’s memoirs, especially the first, Too Close to the Falls.
While the weather didn’t exactly cooperate, looking rather wintry with clouds, a cool temperature and plenty of snow-covered ground from the previous weekend’s devastating blizzard, inside the elegant surroundings of the Calgary Golf & Country Club was a different story. Spring was all around us thanks to our programs featuring blue hydrangeas complemented by the beautiful floral centerpieces on each table, also featuring blue hydrangeas arranged to perfection by our President Doloris Duval, and even a sprinkling of gorgeous Spring dresses worn by some of our more intrepid members. Any club that can keep meeting throughout two world wars isn’t going to let the weather get the better of it!
The challenge is on for me to find an equivalent sign en français, as I take a sabbatical for a month! I will miss our wonderful Spring Luncheon/AGM! Mostly, I will miss my wonderful friends at CWLC as we all drift about in various directions for the summer.
I’m remiss in keeping up to posting the many funny presentations this year — NOTE: As in hilarious! After I’ve relaxed and rewound, I’ll be a powerhouse! Thanks to all who shared outstanding humour, satire and irony — their own as well as the authors they presented. What an upbeat year! Next year, armchair travels…
This month our city enjoyed Historic Calgary Week. The theme for this year was The Power of Partnerships and the Calgary Women’s Literary Club was pleased to be invited to participate. Held in the delightfully historic Memorial Park Library, Mary Carwardine, Sue Carscallen and Sandra Ens took part in an engaging talk which served to deliver a thoughtful and informative overview of the significant role that our club has played in Calgary’s history.
This presentation created an enhanced appreciation of the accomplishments of our founder, Annie Davidson. Annie we were told was a lady of quiet dignity and thoughtful opinions who overcame the many challenges and losses that were typical of her time. Buoyed by her love of books, she sparked intellectual and social discourse in a growing population of literate Calgary women. These women shared the scarce few books that they had brought with them on their journey to Calgary during their weekly meetings in Annie’s parlor.
Under Annie’s leadership, in a time when women had yet to win the right to vote, the Calgary Women’s Literary Club worked tirelessly to garner support and succeeded in obtaining the land and the funding to build the first public library between Winnipeg and Vancouver. The Memorial Park Library came into being in 1912.
Annie’s “book club with a difference” continues to meet on Tuesday afternoons in the library that she built. Today’s members hold dear the legacy left to us by Annie as we continue to discuss and analyze literature.
I have borrowed liberally from the talk in my efforts to capture and relate the flavor of this wonderful presentation.