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Society Minutes: Dec 8, 2001

 
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Joined: 25 May 2002
Posts: 72
Location: Oxford, England

PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2002 8:46 pm    Post subject: Society Minutes: Dec 8, 2001 Reply with quote

Posted on behalf of Patrick Villa and Dunstan Ward:

Robert Graves Society

Minutes of a meeting of the Council of the Robert Graves Society at St John's College Oxford, England, 8 December 2001

Present: Dunstan Ward (President) British Institute in Paris, University of London.
Dr Paul O'Prey (Vice-President, Europe), University of Bristol.
Dr Robert Bertholf, Treasurer (Americas), Poetry Collection, SUNY at Buffalo, USA.
Patrick Villa (Secretary/Treasurer), University of Bristol.
Dr Ian Firla (Web Editor), St John's College Robert Graves Trust, Oxford.
Dr Grevel Lindop (Member of the Advisory Board of Gravesiana), Emeritus Professor of Romantic and Early Victorian Studies, University of Manchester.
Dr Joan Fiol (Member of the Advisory Board of Gravesiana), University of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca.

In attendance: Mrs Pauline Scudamore, Society Member.
Ms Camilla Roskelley, Society Member.
Mr Ben Wright, Society Member. (For part of the meeting.)
Mr John Wetherall, Society Member. (For the last 15 minutes of the meeting.)

Apologies
for absence: Mrs Beryl Graves (Honorary President).
Professor John Presley (Editor of Gravesiana and Vice-President, Americas), Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, SUNY Oswego, USA.
Mr William Graves.
Professor Devindra Kohli, Member of the Advisory Board of Gravesiana, University of Muenster, Germany.
Dr Alice Hughes Kersnowski, St Mary's University, Texas. Mrs Stella Irwin.

1.President's Introduction to the meeting

The President, Mr Dunstan Ward, opened the meeting by thanking St
John's College, and in particular Professor John Kelly, for their
kindness and generous support in enabling the meeting and the following
lunch to be held in the splendid surroundings of Robert Graves's college.
He said that it was gratifying to see so many people at the meeting and
went on to read out messages of warm good wishes and apologies for
absence from the Honorary President, Mrs Beryl Graves, in Mallorca and
(from the Algerian Desert) Mr William Graves.

The President expressed particular thanks to those who had travelled long distances to attend the meeting, especially Dr Robert Bertholf from the Poetry Collection at Buffalo and Dr Joan Fiol from the University of the Balearic Islands in Mallorca. He reported that apologies for absence had also been received from Stella Irwin, Professor John Presley, and Professor Devindra Kohli

2.Financial Situation

The Secretary/Treasurer presented a report on the Society's financial situation. The details have been minuted separately and are available to members on request.

3. Gravesiana

Dr Robert Bertholf explained that Gravesiana would be produced in America in future. Facsimile copies of Over the Brazier would be offered to potential subscribers as an incentive for them to subscribe. The Secretary/Treasurer said that a full and up to date list of USA-based subscribers was needed. He had seen a list dated 1998, but would like to feed the latest information into either a joint or separate database of members, which was now available and up to date for the UK-based membership.

The President said that Professor John Presley, Provost and VP for Academic Affairs at SUNY Oswego, USA, had agreed to take over the editorship of Gravesiana as General Editor. He would be assisted by Dr Patrick McGuinness as Assistant Editor, Patrick Villa as Production Editor, and a full editorial team, most of whom had now accepted an invitation to join.

Mr Ward thanked Dr Ian Firla for his editorship of the journal during the last three years and in particular for the last double issue (of Summer 2001).

He went on to say that he had spoken with Professor John Presley, who had told him that items due to be published in the next (Winter 2001/02) issue of Gravesiana included the transcript of the memoir of Amy Graves, from the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library; and articles by Grevel Lindop (see below) and Michel Pharand; and reviews by Beryl Graves and Patrick McGuinness (to come), and Steven Trout; and a biographical piece by Peggy Brooks.

He said that some other items were in the pipeline, but John Presley had said that more were needed urgently. He had asked the meeting to try to generate new ideas for content.

Suggestions made at the meeting for future material, actual and potential, included:

i) Two articles by Grevel Lindop on Charles Williams and The White Goddess: Grevel reported that one was ready to submit, and the follow-up was in progress. He planned a further piece on the full text of T. S. Eliot's original blurb for The White Goddess, from the McMillan Archive at New York Public Library.

ii) Papers presented at Buffalo 2000 conference.

iii) A series of articles by Dunstan Ward reproducing and analysing
drafts of individual poems.

iv) A bibliography of recent publications on Graves, i.e. mainly journal articles, compiled from sources such as MLA Bibliography and Literature Online (as a regular feature).

v) A register of PhD studies on Graves compiled from electronic sources such as Index to Theses or UMI's Dissertation Abstracts (as a regular feature).

vi) Lucy Aldridge's memoir in the archive at St John's should be assessed for possible publication

vii) The Alexander Blunton [?] story.

viii) The results of the proposed essay prize competition (see below).

3.Membership drive and future activities and events

The Secretary/Treasurer tabled a paper about membership of the Society, which was estimated to be about 133 paid-up members worldwide. He suggested an early target of 200 members, rising as quickly as possible to, possibly, 600+, the current figure for both the T. E. Lawrence and Wilfred Owen societies. Ideas for achieving increased membership that were discussed at the meeting included:

i)Alliance of Literary Societies: Arrange for the Robert Graves Society to join. Action: Patrick Villa (Done: January 2002).

ii)Wilfred Owen Society: Contact its Secretary Helen McPhail to discuss possible combined events and activities, etc. Action: Paul O'Prey.

iii)MLA Conferences, USA: Have RG Society membership forms and conference information available at this year's MLA conference. Plan for a session with papers at the 2003 conference. Action: Robert Bertholf, Frank Kersnowski, Ben Wright.

iv)Essay Prize: Finalise details (entry fee? prize money? subject range?) for a Robert Graves Essay Prize, to be launched in 2002 with details in the next issue of Gravesiana. Grevel Lindop said that he had been involved with judging the Keats-Shelley Essay Prize competition, for which a modest entry fee had been charged. The meeting was divided about [the need for an entry fee] this, but there was more agreement on the point that the subject range should be left as open as possible. Action: Paul O'Prey, Dunstan Ward.

v)A high profile Robert Graves exhibition and event in Madrid: Patrick Villa reported news from William Graves that plans for this event at the Circulo de las Bellas Artes, a prestigious cultural venue in central Madrid, had been agreed for [December] 2002. It was hoped that the event, based on the exhibition at La Llonja in Palma de Mallorca during the centenary year, would be opened formally and include some lectures. The event would help to promote renewed Spanish interest in Robert and his work. William's suggestion that the next Society Lunch be held in Madrid to co-incide with this event was received warmly. Action: William Graves, All.

vi)Encourage the academic interest in Robert Graves: Paul O'Prey, Dunstan Ward and others suggested to general agreement that it was important to try to increase the amount of academic research on Robert Graves and good critical material published in Gravesiana as a result of this research. Increased academic membership should follow. Action: All.

vii)Press releases: Paul O'Prey said that the Society should use all opportunities to promote its existence, by issuing Press releases about every event or activity. It was agreed that a system for issuing regular Press releases about RG Society events (e.g. the Essay Prize, Rome Conference, today's lunch) should be established. The amount of publicity gained in each case may be small, but regular releases should build up Press and media interest. Even a short notice in a local paper could lead to a few new members joining the Society and/or attending an event. Action: Patrick Villa.

viii)Flyers: Leaflets or brochures on the Society should be distributed to the membership (and perhaps placed in the journals) of some related societies (e.g. T. E. Lawrence Society, Thomas Hardy Society.) Action: Patrick Villa.

ix)Web site: The President asked if the Society's presence on the Trust's web site could be made clearer. Ian Firla said that the site was constantly being updated and he would see what could be done. Action: Ian Firla.

x)Lunch: It was agreed to enquire about the possibility and cost, etc. of having a future RG Society lunch at the Chelsea Arts Club in London. Action: Dunstan Ward to enquire through Lucia Graves, Pauline Scudamore and others.

4.Progress on the Rome 2002 conference

The Secretary/Treasurer said that arrangements for the 2002 Conference from 9-13 July were reasonably on schedule. The new Lecture Theatre at the British School at Rome, seating up to 145 and due to be completed in May 2002, had been booked for some time. Building work there was also on schedule. The Society's conference would be one of the first major events to use the School's new facilities. These included upgraded kitchens, so the School would also be able to provide meals and refreshments as required.

Due to heavy demand from its own scholars, the School had only been able to provide 3 twin rooms on site, but a list of nearby hotels and pensioni had been provided. One of the BSR rooms had been put aside for John and Chris Kelly; another should be reserved for Beryl Graves, the Honorary President. It might be possible for one or two Society officers to visit Rome in advance to identify a group of other conference hotels and facilities as well as make contact with the British School as well as other British, US and EU cultural centres.

Publicity about the conference had been available on the Web for some time, as had an online enquiry form and (later) a registration form. Some 15 enquiries and 2 registrations had been received by 8 December, as well as 10 or 11 proposals for papers. Patrick Villa estimated that in total about 35 - 40 participants were -confirmed- so far, including some who were certain to be there but had not registered yet. This was in line with figures for the same period in the previous year for a recent conference at Northampton, which was eventually attended by 206 participants.

He said it was very important that a fuller programme for the Graves conference, with themes - and keynote speakers - for each day of the conference, should be decided. This information could then be used for a new wave of publicity - brochures, new material on the web site, a notice in Gravesiana, perhaps a poster - to go out early in the New Year. Funding for these and their mailing should not be a problem if some of the promised funds arrived, especially if SUNY were also able to produce the next journal issue at no charge, as had been mooted.

5.Any other business

i)At the invitation of the President, Joan Fiol said a few words about the progress of Graves Studies and activities in Mallorca. These included the continued links with the Deya Town Hall, Govern Balear and the University of the Balearics. The forthcoming filming of Poetic Unreason was causing some TV and Press interest. His colleague at UIB, Juana María Seguí, was preparing a PhD thesis on Graves, but unfortunately would not be able to attend the 2002 conference in Rome and had sent her apologies for that. With William, they and the authorities continued to consider it very important to keep alive the local interest in Robert Graves and the connections between him, Mallorca, and Spain. It was suggested that Vasillio [?] and the Juan March Foundation might be worth approaching in respect to further Spanish links and especially Spanish involvement in the Rome conference. Pauline Scudamore said that Robert had been very dedicated to Spain.

ii)Ian Firla reported that the web site continued to be popular, with an average of about 100 hits each day. Recently he had been developing the location register, with a searchable database of Robert's letters, based on William's lists. A link had been made to the COPAC library catalogue of 23 UK universities and this in turn had been linked to Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk . This made it possible to search for a work by Robert Graves and then order a modern edition from Amazon. The next stage would be to link the site to the RLIN records of Graves holdings.

The meeting closed at about 12.15pm to allow members to meet other guests and proceed to the lunch, where poet Roger McGough was the guest speaker.


Patrick Villa
Secretary/Treasurer
January, 2002[/b]
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