Linda has the perfect pedigree to present Robert Burns: She grew up near the area from which Robert Burns called home. With her daughter as special guest, she regaled us all while debunking a number of outrageous myths about the man and the poet.
What an experience it was, to hear Linda read four poems in the Scottish language/dialect: Ode to a Mouse, Ode to a Louse, Address to a Haggis and Holy Willie’s Prayer. Linda provided the poems as written, along with her translation into English.
Linda’s insights helped us understand the satire and irony embedded in his humorous writings, and their relevance in his times and ours. Hearing poems read in their true language enhanced, manyfold, our appreciation of the poetry of Robert Burns. What a treat!
FOR LINDA’S SUMMARY, PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK, BELOW
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!
Cecilia’s lifelong passion for William Shakespeare was clearly evident in her enthusiastic presentation on October 16, structured in the form of a five-act Shakespearean play.
Each succeeding act consisted of defined topics, such as family and friends who influenced his writing, his humour as well as various characters who inhabited his plays.
Cecilia’s power point presentation (Act IV) in exquisite pictures, detailed her extensive personal experience with Shakespeare’s live theatre as well as journeys to Stratford in the United Kingdom and Canada.
Shakespeare’s words of wisdom, his philosophy of life and humour still resonate with us today.
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.