This is my second Chair’s report since taking over from Ruth Webb in 2014. I have enjoyed my second year enormously in no small measure thanks to all the members of the Committee who have contributed so much during the last academic year. We are delighted that Emeritus Professor Warren Chernaik has agreed to continue as our President for a further year.
Your Committee feels that the reversion to meetings in January and March instead of one meeting in February has worked well and we propose to keep to this pattern next year. Likewise we feel that the venue for the Christmas party also worked well and propose to use it again this year. The building that we have used in the past is nearing completion and might be a possibility for 2017.
Looking back at the 2015 to 2016 year, you will remember that we were fortunate to hear Roderick Swanston on ‘Remembering the First World War through poetry, prose, music and pictures’, Ulrike Horstmann-Guthrie on ‘Mad or Bad: unreliable narrators in James’s The Turn of the Screw and Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles’, Michael Symes on ‘Poetry Realised: William Shenstone’s 18th Century Paradise of The Leasowes’, Professor Judith Hawley on ‘Gothic Fiction and Gothic Form’, Professor Sandra Clark on ‘Editing Shakespeare: The Case of Macbeth’, and Ian Keable on ‘Charles Dickens – Magician.’
The May Literary visit was to Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill for a private guided tour and lunch. I think my colleagues will agree that the 1½ hour tour was excellent in content and that both it, and the delicious lunch, were great value for money. Thanks to Maggy for organising this.
Just before this year’s AGM, we’ll welcome Kevin McCarron, University of Roehampton, on ‘Tilting at Windmills: Don Quixote’s Romantic Extravagance’.
On the AGM Agenda you will find the dates of meetings for the next academic year and the contact details of your proposed Committee. Also on the Agenda you will see that we have already arranged the October talk. All the year’s talks will take place as usual at Birkbeck except for the Christmas party and the May trip. Once speakers and topics for the remainder of the spring and summer terms have been confirmed, they will appear on our website http://ulemla.org.uk and in future ULEMLA Newsletters, as will details of the May trip.
Attached is a membership renewal slip. Your Committee is again concerned about the reducing and ageing membership and would encourage you to publicise ULEMLA as widely as you can. We look forward to seeing you – and your friends – in Birkbeck’s main building from October 2016.