Past News Letters

NEWSLETTER – SPRING 2017

Looking back over the programme I think we have had another very interesting start to our academic year. In October we had Dr. Tamara Follini, Clare College, Cambridge on “Organizing an ado: Writing The Portrait of a Lady” and, in November, Michael Billington, OBE, drama critic of The Guardian on “What Makes a Great Play?” In December, Dr Joe Brooker, Birkbeck College spoke on “The Living and the Dead: Reading Joyce’s Dubliners” followed once again by the Christmas party in a private room at the Marlborough Arms. In January we were delighted to have with us our President, Professor Warren Chernaik, who spoke about “God’s Just Yoke: Justice in Paradise Lost”.

For the rest of this academic year our programme at Birkbeck is as follows:

4 March 2017 Room 541 Charles Peake Memorial Lecture – Sue Underwood (Charles Peake’s daughter): “Excellent i ’faith – The Life of Charles Peake.”
22 April 2017 Room 538 Professor Christopher Bigsby, University of East Anglia: “Informal talk on Arthur Miller and Edward Albee.“
day trip on 14 May 10 for 10.30am Tour of The Old Vic Theatre including talk, lasting about one and a quarter hours.
10 June 2017 Room 538 Dr. Priscilla Martin: “‘Unquiet Slumbers’; Jane Eyre and Rebecca.”

The literary trip in May is a guided tour, with a talk, of the Old Vic Theatre. The price of the tour, for which participants will need to make their own travel arrangements, will be £10 for members and £12 for guests. There will be an opportunity to go for lunch afterwards. Further details will appear on the ULEMLA website http://ulemla.org.uk and you can also contact our Social and Visits Secretary, Maggy Kew, for details. All Maggy’s contact details are given below, so if you are unable to buy your tickets at our March or April talks you may book with her and pay before the deadline date of 30 April.

We look forward to seeing you and your friends at our meetings. Please take every opportunity to publicize the Association so that we can increase our membership and continue to provide such a wide-ranging programme for a very modest subscription.

Lindsay Martin, Chair

NEWSLETTER – AUTUMN 2016

As in my previous autumn Newsletter, I should like to say how much I have enjoyed the last year as your Chair and to pay tribute to the terrific support I have had, once again, from the work of my colleagues on the Committee. It is with great sadness, however, that I have to record the death of our Committee Secretary, Christine Williams, who passed away in June. She was a faithful Committee member and lovely person and will be much missed at ULEMLA.

On a happier note, you will all be delighted to know that Emeritus Professor Warren Chernaik has agreed to continue as our President in 2016 – 2017, and he will be giving a lecture later in the academic year. You will also be pleased to know that we are keeping the membership fee at £20 a year and the visitor’s fee likewise at £5 per talk. I am sure you will agree that this continues to represent excellent value for money.

For those of you who were not able to attend any or all of our meetings during the 2015/16 academic year full details are available on the Association’s website: http://ulemla.org.uk. In brief, we were privileged to have 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”, Judith Hawley on “Gothic Fiction and Gothic Form”, Sandra Clark on “Editing Shakespeare: The Case of Macbeth”, Ian Keable on “Charles Dickens – Magician”, and Kevin McCarron on “Tilting at Windmills: Don Quixote’s Romantic Extravagance”. Our May trip was to Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill for an excellent guided tour and lunch.

Most of our 2016-2017 meetings will take place as usual at 2.30pm on Saturdays in the main building of Birkbeck College, University of London, Torrington Square, London WC1. However, please note that the rooms vary as shown below and that the Christmas party and May trip will take place as notified. Details of the 2016-17 programme arranged so far are set out below as well as on the Association’s website which will be updated throughout the year.

Please renew your membership using the form below, or pay at your first meeting. I look forward to seeing you during the year. I and my colleagues on the Committee welcome your feedback on, and suggestions for, the programme at any time. Also we would be delighted if you would publicise the Association to all your friends and colleagues and remember that membership is not limited to those with an association with the University.

Lindsay Martin, Chair

NEWS LETTER – FEBRUARY 2016

Thanks to my colleagues on your Committee I think we have had a very interesting start to our year. In October Roderick Swanston spoke on “Remembering the First World War through poetry, prose, music and pictures” and in November Ulrike Horstmann-Guthrie spoke on “Mad or Bad: unreliable narrators in James’s The Turn of the Screw and Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles.” In December, at short notice, we were very grateful to have Michael Symes giving an illustrated talk on ‘Poetry Realised: William Shenstone’s 18th Century Paradise of The Leasowes’ followed by the Christmas party in a private room at the Marlborough Arms. In the January talk, re-instated this year, Professor Judith Hawley, provided an introduction to our May trip by speaking about “Gothic Fiction and Gothic Form.”

For the rest of this academic year our programme at Birkbeck is as follows:

5 March 2016 Room 540 Charles Peake Memorial lecture by Professor Sandra Clark on ‘Editing Shakespeare: The Case of Macbeth’
16 April 2016 Room 540 Ian Keeble ‘Charles Dickens – Magician’
day trip in May Literary visit to Strawberry Hill
11 June 2016 Room 539 tba

The literary trip in May is to Horace Walpole’s amazing creation, Strawberry Hill in Twickenham. The total price of the trip, for which members will need to make their own travel arrangements, will be £xx to members and £xx to guests. Further details will appear on the ULEMLA website http://ulemla.org.uk and you can also contact our Social and Visits Secretary, Maggy Kew for details. All Maggy’s contact details are given below, so that if you are unable to buy your tickets at our March or April talks you may book with her and pay before the deadline date of 30 April.

I should like to take this opportunity to let members know that our President, Emeritus Professor Warren Chernaik, had a successful operation at the beginning of February and is out of hospital. We wish him a very speedy recovery and hope that he can join us soon.

We look forward to seeing you and your friends at our meetings. Please take every opportunity to publicize the Association so that we can increase our membership and continue to provide such a wide-ranging programme for a very modest subscription.

Lindsay Martin, Chair

NEWSLETTER – SEPTEMBER 2015

This is my second September Newsletter and I should like to say how much I have enjoyed my first full year as your Chair.  I should also like to pay tribute to the terrific support I have had from the work of my colleagues on the Committee and to recognise how much ULEMLA has benefited from it.  I am sure you will be delighted to know that the AGM in June agreed to the Committee’s proposal to re-instate the January meeting so that there are now seven meetings plus the May trip, rather than six.

As a result of this increase in the number of meetings, the AGM also agreed that the membership fee should go up to to £20 a year and the visitor’s fee likewise to £5 per talk.  I am sure you will agree that this still represents excellent value for money.

You will all be delighted to know that Emeritus Professor Warren Chernaik has agreed to continue as our President in 2015 – 2016, and he will be giving the December lecture, as he has in the past.

For those of you who were not able to attend any or all our meetings during the 2014/15 academic year full details are available on the Association’s website: http://ulemla.org.uk.  In brief we were privileged to have Kevin McCarron on Dylan Thomas, Kate Parkin on the future of publishing fiction, Leonee Ormond on the Victorian theatre, Warren Chernaik on Samuel Pepys, Linda Hart on Robert Frost and Max Saunders on autobiografiction.  Our May trip was to The King’s School, Canterbury to view its extensive archive of literary manuscripts.

Most of our 2015-2016 meetings will take place as usual at 2.30pm on Saturdays in the main building of Birkbeck College, University of London, Torrington Square, London WC1.  However, please note that the rooms vary as shown below and that the December meeting and Christmas party will take place in a venue which we are currently researching.  Details of the 2015-16 programme so far are below as well as on the Association’s website which will be updated throughout the year:

 

10 October 2015 Room 540 Roderick Swanston: “Remembering the First World War through poetry, prose, music and pictures.”
14 November 2015 Room 540 Ulrike Horstmann-Guthrie: “Mad or Bad: unreliable narrators in James’s The Turn of the Screw and Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles.”
11am 5 December 2015 T F Evans Memorial lecture on Milton by ULEMLA President Emeritus Professor Warren Chernaik, followed by Christmas party
23 January 2016 Room G16 Prof. Judith Hawley, Royal Holloway, University of London “Gothic Fiction and Gothic Form.”
5 March 2016 Room 540 Charles Peake Memorial lecture
16 April 2016 Room 540 tba
day trip in May Literary visit to a London venue
11 June 2016 Room 539 tba

 

Please renew your membership using the form below, or pay at your first meeting.  I look forward to seeing you during the year. I and my colleagues on the Committee welcome your feedback on, and suggestions for, the programme at any time.  Also we would be delighted if you would publicise the Association to all your friends and colleagues and remember that membership is not limited to those with an association with the University.

Lindsay Martin, Chair (lindsay@lindsaycmartin.co.uk and 0208 245 3580)

 

NEWS LETTER – FEBRUARY 2015

Those of you who have attended all the meetings of this academic year so far will agree with me, I hope, that the autumn term was a particularly interesting start to our year.  We started topically with Kevin McCarron on “Dylan Thomas:  ‘Sound and More Sound and Some Fury’” followed by Kate Parkin from Hodder & Stoughton on the future of publishing.  Our Christmas party, held most successfully at a new venue, included the T.F. Evans Memorial Lecture given by Leonee Ormond on “Victorian Theatre and the rise of Melodrama”.

Owing to the success of previous literary visits, it has been decided that the 2015 trip will be to The King’s School, Canterbury on Saturday, 30 May, when we will have the great privilege of viewing the school’s wonderful Walpole Collection of English Literary Manuscripts and the Maugham Library.  Members will also have an opportunity to visit the Cathedral or Canterbury’s literary connections such as the Marlowe Memorial.  The total price of the trip (travel to/from Canterbury, a light lunch and school visit) will be £35 to members and £38 to guests.  We will hire a 16-seater coach to take the first 16 people who book for the trip to and from Canterbury.  Any members and guests in addition to that first 16 will be asked to make their own travel-arrangements to Canterbury.  Those travelling independently but wishing to join the lunch-party and school visit should contact our Social and Visits Secretary, Maggy Kew for details; the cost is £15.  Further details will appear on the ULEMLA website http://ulemla.org.uk and all Maggy’s contact details are given below, so that if you are unable to buy your tickets at our February and April talks you may book with her and pay before the deadline date of 26 April.

The rest of our exciting programme of talks will continue to take place on Saturdays at 2.30pm in Birkbeck’s main building:-

 21 February Charles Peake Memorial Lecture: ULEMLA President, Emeritus Professor Warren Chernaik, King’s College, London, “Samuel Pepys and the Restoration Theatre”.  Room 415
 25 April Linda Hart, “The English Years of Robert Frost”.  Room 415
 30 May Canterbury trip (see booking form below)
 13 June Professor Max Saunders, Director of the Arts & Humanities Research Institute, King’s College, London, “Autobiografiction: the case of Ford Madox Ford and Joseph Conrad”.  Room 417

We look forward to seeing you and your friends at our meetings.

Lindsay Martin, Chair

 

NEWSLETTER – SEPTEMBER 2014

As you will know, after many years of devoted service to the Association, Ruth Webb stepped down as Chair and from the Committee; it is not an exaggeration to say that without her efforts the Association might well not have survived.  Her hard work on behalf of, and commitment to, the Association was absolutely invaluable.  I am greatly honoured that the last AGM agreed to my taking over from her as Chair and I am only too conscious that Ruth will be a very hard act to follow.  I know you will join me in wishing her enjoyable and productive use of all the extra time she will now have on her hands.

The membership fee is remaining at £15 and the visitor’s fee also remains at £4 per talk.  You will all be delighted to know that Emeritus Professor Warren Chernaik has agreed to continue as our President in 2014 – 2015, and he will be giving the December lecture, as he has in the past.

For those of you who were not able to attend any or all our meetings during the 2013/14 academic year full details are available on the Association’s website: https://ulemla.org.uk/.  In brief we were privileged to have Professor John Mullan on Jane Austen, Jane and Robert Carr on J L Carr’s A Month in the Country, Warren Chernaik on Mark Twain, Mike Irwin on ‘fitting words to music’, Michael Symes on the Vauxhall Gardens in the 18th century, and Angus Wrenn on Ford Maddox Ford.  Our May trip was to Oxford where Margaret Bulleyment gave us a talk about Oxford-inspired writers.

Most of our 2014-2015 meetings will take place as usual in Room 415 at 2.30pm on Saturdays, on the fourth floor of the main building of Birkbeck College, University of London, Torrington Square, London WC1.  However, please note that the December meeting and Christmas party will take place in the International Hall, and not the Canterbury Hall as this is being refurbished.  Details of the 2014-15 programme are below as well as on the Association’s website:

11th October               Dr. Kevin McCarron, University of Roehampton, “Dylan Thomas:                                              ‘Sound and More Sound and Some Fury’.”

15th November           Kate Parkin, Fiction Publisher at Hodder and Stoughton, “Publishing                                        Futures”.

6th December             T.F. Evans Memorial Lecture: ULEMLA President, Emeritus                                                        Professor Warren Chernaik, King’s College, London, “Samuel Pepys                                          and the Restoration Theatre” followed by the Christmas Party at the                                          International Hall, Lansdowne Terrace, London WC1N 1AS.  Please                                      note start time of 11am.

21st February              Charles Peake Memorial Lecture: Emerita Professor Leonee Ormond,                                        “Victorian Theatre and the rise of Melodrama”.

25th April                     Linda Hart, “The English Years of Robert Frost”.

May                                Literary visit: date and place to be confirmed

13th June                      Speaker and topic tba.

Please renew your membership using the form below, or pay at your first meeting.  I look forward to seeing you during the year. I and my colleagues on the Committee welcome your feedback on, and suggestions for, the programme at any time.  Also we would be delighted if you would publicise the Association to all your friends and colleagues and remember that membership is not limited to those with an association with the University.

Lindsay Martin, Chair (Lindsay@lindsaycmartin.co.uk and 0208 245 3580)

February 2014 Newsletter

This will be my last February News Letter, after about 25 years of my writing them!  As most of you know, I shall be retiring from the ULEMLA Committee at this June’s AGM.  I shall, of course, come to some ULEMLA talks in the coming academic years, but I no longer have the … stamina (?) required to Chair ULEMLA, nor to serve on the committee.  In April, I’m also stepping down from my position as Vice-Chair of the Virginia Woolf Society – for the same reason: I want to spend the little energy I now have on a number of interests that I’ve ‘put off’ for the last … 40 years or so!

Those of you who have attended all the meetings of this academic year so far will agree with me, I hope, that the autumn term was a particularly interesting start to our year.  What Matters in Jane Austen?  Crucial Puzzles Solved was the title of the entertaining October talk given by Professor John Mullan.  The November talk was partly a personal reflection, and very different from many we have experienced, it being given by husband and wife, Jane and Robert Carr, on the topic of Robert’s father and his work:
J L Carr: A Day, a Month, a Season, a Life.

We were delighted that our President, Emeritus Professor  Warren Chernaik, was able to give The Fifth T F Evans Memorial Lecture, Mark Twain and America: a Study in Contradiction in December.  His talk was, as always, much enjoyed for its many new insights.  It was immediately followed by the eating, drinking and merriment of our Christmas Party.

For the first time in our 31-year history, we did not have a January meeting.  The decision to change our meeting-dates was taken last year — partly because severe weather conditions have often in the past prevented members from attending the January talks, and partly because of the need to keep our costs low, now that we no longer receive financial support from the University of London.  The spring term talk-dates were duly rearranged, so that there will be a ULEMLA talk every two months between February and June each year, in addition to the usual literary visit in May.

Owing to the success of the literary visit to Cambridge in 2012, it was decided that the 2014 trip would be to Oxford on Saturday, 10th May, when we will have lunch together, followed by a brief talk on Literary Oxford.  Members will then have an opportunity to spend the afternoon either following the literary references of the lunch-time talk, or exploring Oxford in whatever manner they choose (or both!).

September 2012 News Letter

In November 2012, ULEMLA will reach the 30th anniversary of its first ever meeting, and so we shall have more than the usual number of successes to celebrate at our Christmas party in mid-December. At our AGM in June, although the committee recommended that the 2012-2013 membership fee should be £15, the majority of members attending the AGM voted for what was proposed by a member: £20. We realize that this is a steep increase on what the fee has been for several years (£12) but we hope you will agree that, because we are now a totally self-funding organization, £20 for seven academic talks and a discount on the price of both the Christmas party and the literary trip in May is very good value. The visitor’s fee will also increase – from £4 to £6 per talk.

As the list of dates, talks and speakers on our website’s “2012-2013 Programme” page reveals, we have a year of extremely interesting events in prospect. The speakers for the first five talks represent universities in London, Oxford, Cambridge and Stirling, and a great variety of topics will be discussed. During the last academic year, our speakers not only covered topics ranging from Venice in literature, art and music, to Popular song in American culture, and Writing for television, but also discussed writers from Shakespeare, through Dickens and Terence Rattigan to T S Eliot. After the talk on Eliot, we visited Little Gidding in Cambridgeshire, having had lunch at Corpus Christi College. The Christmas party was a great success, and so we shall have our 2012 Christmas talk and party again at Canterbury Hall, Cartwright Gardens, on 15th December.

Most of our 2012-2013 meetings will take place in Room 415, our usual room on the fourth floor of the main building of Birkbeck University of London, whose entrance is on Torrington Square, London WC1. However, please note that we will meet in Room 416 in November, next door to our usual room. Details of times, dates, relocations, speakers and topics are given on the “2012-2013 Programme” page of this website.

February 2012 News Letter

Please accept my apologies for the plethora of information in this News Letter, but there are several important issues of which I need to make you aware, and on which I need to seek your views. I have numbered the points below for ease of reference.

1.   Although, at our January meeting, more than 16 people expressed an interest in the trip to Little Gidding and Cambridge on 12th May, only ten paid deposits. Accordingly, ULEMLA’s committee has decided to restrict the number of ‘trippers’ to 16, and tickets will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis. Therefore, if you wish to participate in the 12th May trip to Little Gidding and Cambridge, at a cost of c£30 (for transport from Russell Square to Little Gidding; then on to Cambridge for a soup and sandwich lunch with tea or coffee at Corpus Christi College; and for a free afternoon in Cambridge town before returning to Russell Square – or going on to Croydon, the coach’s destination), please contact Maggy Kew by phone on 020 8659 1620 or 07875 004097, or by e-mail: maggy_one@hotmail.com. A deposit (not necessarily the full c£30 now) will be needed to secure your place; it should be sent to Maggy Kew, at 44 Longton Grove, Sydenham, London SE26 6QE

2.   The status of Birkbeck’s Students’ Union (SU) as a charity requires any SU-supported societies to be run solely by current, registered Birkbeck students. Given that only one member of the current ULEMLA committee satisfies that criterion, ULEMLA will receive no financial support from the SU (nor Birkbeck itself) from September 2012. At the moment, hire of the room in which six of our meetings take place (Room 415) costs us nothing. We shall not know until May this year if that benefit will continue into the 2012-13 academic year. If it does not, we will inform members at our 2nd June AGM of that fact.

Should it turn out that we will have to pay for the hire of the rooms for all our meetings, that cost will use up a large chunk of our existing funds. As, from September 2012, ULEMLA will be wholly self-funding, we shall have to look closely at the costs to be incurred in 2012-13, i.e. hiring rooms, paying speakers’ fees and travel costs, and subsidizing the Christmas party and the literary trip in May. We shall not know until just before our 2nd June AGM if we shall be required to pay room hire-costs for all our meetings from September. (Our Treasurer paid £135 to hire the room at Canterbury Hall for our December 2011 meeting and Christmas party.) Therefore, we are not yet able to estimate what will be the ULEMLA membership fee that we will recommend for 2012-13 at the AGM.

3. Long-standing members will remember that, before the SU assisted ULEMLA in 2009, the committee recommended that the membership fee be raised to £15, but those members attending the AGM in June of that year proposed and voted for the fee to be raised to £20. Fortunately, we were able to keep the fee at £12 because of the SU’s financial support from October of that year. At a recent committee meeting, it was suggested that, because bad weather has often prevented members from attending January meetings, we could save costs by eliminating the January meeting from our 2012-13 programme. If we did that, we would have ULEMLA members’ meetings on six, rather than seven Saturdays (Oct, Nov, Dec, March, April, June), we could continue having the Christmas Party after the December talk, and continue to have the May literary trip. Thus we would save the costs of one month’s room-hire, a speaker’s fee, his/her travel expenses and, in consequence, – should members agree to this suggestion – we could recommend only raising the 2012-13 membership fee to £15.

This year’s AGM was booked for 2nd June 2012 long before plans for celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee were made. Should you be aware that you’ll not be able to attend the 2nd June AGM, and you wish to express your views on ULEMLA’s 2012-13 fee and/or holding six meetings a year in future, please write to me at 15 Southcote Road, Woodside, London SE25 4RG, or to ruthwebb@talk21.com.

Ruth Webb, ULEMLA Chair

September 2010 News Letter

ULEMLA’s 2009-2010 academic year was a very successful and interesting one, it being our 27th year in existence, and our first year of being supported by Birkbeck’s Students’ Union.  The first talk of the year was given in October 2009 by one of ULEMLA’s regular speakers, Ulrike Hortsmann-Guthrie of Cambridge University.  On that occasion, she spoke on “Crime Considered as one of the Fine Arts”: the Detective in 19th-Century Fiction.  In November, Dr Chris Campbell of Queen Mary, University of London spoke on The Ground Beneath Their Feet: contracts with the land in Caribbean writing; and the first T F Evans Memorial Lecture was given in December by our President, the University of London Emeritus Professor, Warren Chernaik.  His topic was Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in both text and film.  We toasted the memory of Tom Evans and, as ever, the talk and questions were followed by ULEMLA’s Christmas party.

Dr Matthew Rubery of Queen Mary, University of London gave the January 2010 talk, Newspapers and Nineteenth-Century Literature.  It was Dr Rubery’s first talk for ULEMLA, and we hope that he will return to give talks as often as our next speaker, the TV- and film-writer, Andrew Davies, who gave the Charles Peake Memorial Lecture in March.  The infamous volcanic ash from Iceland detained our scheduled April speaker in New York, and so – at 24-hours’ notice – I gave a talk on Virginia Woolf and London.  The talk we were to have had would have prepared us well for our annual literary trip in May, this year to Linley Sambourne and Leighton Houses in Kensington, but we will now enjoy that talk in the coming academic year.  The last talk of the academic year was Thomas Hardy – a pageful of poems, given by a long-standing ULEMLA friend, Emeritus Professor, Mike Irwin of the University of Kent.

In the coming autumn term, we shall have three eminent speakers on three very different topics.  The speakers and topics for the rest of the academic year will be announced at meetings, in the February News Letter, and on our website: www.ulemla.org.uk.  Please do visit our website if you’re able, and let me know of any information you would like us to add to it.  Please note that all meetings (except the one in December) will take place in Room 415 of Birkbeck’s main building, accessed through the entrance on Torrington Square, London, WC1E 7HX.  We look forward to seeing you there.

Ruth Webb, Chairperson

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