MINUTES OF THE ZOOM AGM OF 16 December 2020 at 6pm
1. Present: Keith Armstrong, Pamela Birley, Jane Davison, William Greenslade, Sati McKenzie, Valerie Minogue, Chantal Morel, Patrick Pollard.
2. Apologies: Keith Howell, David Lass, William Breslin.
3. MINUTES of December 2019 AGM: can be found on the website. Please read them and possibly comment on them, in writing, as soon as convenient.
a) President's: When face-to-face meetings resume, the Emile Zola Society should be covered by a Public Liability Insurance. An annual insurance would cover both meetings and trips.
The Treasurer explained the different cases likely to happen, gave some examples of accidents. Since liability will vary, it was agreed to proceed on an ad hoc basis.
b) Vice President's: Early next year the Committee will be reviewing the Society’s website to see whether it is still meeting the Society’s needs and the views of Members would be very welcome. We would like to know whether you make use of it, is it helpful and is the material presented in a readily accessible form? Is any of the content irrelevant to your needs and/or should we include anything else. Do please make your views known to the Secretary.
Structure and Contents need looking into. Members are most welcome to comment to the Secretary prior to our Meeting with Alan Riddle, our Webmaster. What do we use the Website for? Attracting new Members? Giving details of our activities, etc. PLEASE SEND COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS BY JANUARY 20th 2021.
It was suggested that one looked into other literary societies and see what they do and how they present their data, on Facebook, Twitter, etc. So far, there is not much appearing on Zola in either of them!
Sati is prepared to open an account on the email@example.com for Facebook. No cost is involved.
c) Treasurer's: Please refer to Report already sent with the Agenda.
Brief summary: not much activity. Income/expenditure: £ 71.90 extra spent; but no worry. Two cheques were issued before the closing date, they will appear on the next statement.
As already mentioned, Members who paid their subscriptions for 2019-2020 do not need to pay for this year 2020-2021. For the others, no change in the rates. However, there is a change in the payment facilities: we encourage Members to use either Bank transfer or Direct debit. Please ask the Secretary for the Society’s Bank details.
Membership: currently 48 Members, including 4 major libraries (Harvard, Bnf, Sainte Geneviève and University of Paris). The number does not fluctuate much except on colloquium years when attendees join for one year only. Membership fees and methods of payment: please see Treasurer’s Report.
The new version of Renoir’s Nana, with music by Baudim Jam, planned to be shown in the Regent’s Street Cinema, was postponed for a later time, at the Barbican.
'Open House’ at Chantal’s on January 16th2020: 6 Members took part, enjoying wine and nibbles, discussing various aspects of Zola’s life and work.
Annual Dinner on February 7th, at Gloucester Road Garfunkel, in honour of Valerie who was warm-heartedly thanked for her past work and dedication as President. A card and a bouquet were handed to her as a memory token.
"Zola and Women”, Saturday Seminar on April 18th: Covid 19 prevented us from meeting. However, three of the talks are published in the latest Bulletin (61-62, April-October 2020).
Professor John Edmonson’s talk on June 19th was cancelled.
Outing to Chawton House (the Austeen’s), on July 18th, was cancelled.
On October 4th, our annual visit to Zola’s Médan did not take place, due to Covid 19. However, a small number of visitors listened to Mr Charles Dantzig - author and publisher - and to Mr Philippe Oriol - historian and specialist of the Dreyfus Affair.
On November 11th, Committee Meeting.
Provisional Programme until December 2021:
1. January 22nd at 5pm: Monthly Zoom Book Club: the first meeting will be directed by Line Playfair, and based on Zola’s short stories The Attack on the Mill and Other Stories (Oxford University Press, 1984). As Simplice is not included, an English translation of the text will be scanned and sent to Members who are taking part in the Book Club.
[Should anyone need a copy of the Contes à Ninon, in English, do ask the Secretary]
Further meetings could deal with the first of The Rougon-Macquart series, The Fortune of the Rougon, for example, or The Dreyfus Affair by Piers Paul Read or An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris.
Members who are joining the Zoom Book Club should let us know beforehand what they would like for discussion and we’ll do our best to satisfy their demands.
2. February 19th : David King is prepared to do a Zoom presentation of either Toulouse-Lautrec or Eiffel and His Tower. IF ANY PREFERENCE, PLEASE LET US KNOW.
3. March 20th or 27th at 2pm: Saturday Seminar on ‘Zola: Writing and Painting’ - either Birkbeck College or on Zoom: date to be selected by participants: Robert Lethbridge, Susan Harrow, Alison Finch, as well as IT Sati. [further details at a later date].
4. April 17th: Annual Dinner, preferably in a quiet restaurant to enable Members to talk to each other. Pamela mentioned a quiet Pub near Sloane Square, ‘The Surprise’, that might be quite suitable.
5. June 18th: a talk either face-to-face or Zoom: a possible speaker is being approached. [further details later on]
6. July 17th Outing to Chawton House: further details will be forwarded later care of Pamela Birley. Early reservation necessary. A Member asked for a ‘Group ticket’ : it will depend on the number of participants.
7. October 3rd Trip to Médan. The Dreyfus Museum should be finished and open to the public. A group will meet at Gare St Lazare by 11am, catch a train for Villennes, lunch in Villennes then proceed to Médan for the afternoon speeches and visits of Zola’s House and Dreyfus Museum. Return to Villennes by coach, and train back to Gare St Lazare. Time permitting, an evening meal followed by cinema, or cinema followed by an evening meal. [Covid 19 permitting].
No ‘Group ticket’ possible as participants spend one to five days in Paris.
8. December 3rd or 10th: AGM 2021 (further details later)
e) Editors' re: the Editorial Advisory Panel: currently Professor Alison Finch (Cambridge), Dr Kathryn Rees (Oxford) and Dr Claire White (Cambridge). A greater use of their competences should be made use of, especially when selecting papers for colloquia, seminars and publications, as well as contacts for would-be speakers.
f) Publicity Officers': the following bodies were sent leaflets or material for inclusion on their website: AMOPA, French Circle in Chiswick, French Institute Library, Francofil, French Studies, Romance Studies, Franco-British Society.
Will be added: WEA, BCLA, University of the Third Age, University of Westminster and Royal Holloway College (Chronos).
Professor William Greenslade offered a possible link with the ‘Gissing Journal’. He felt that the Editor of the Journal would welcome info on the Emile Zola Society Activities. When Programme finalized it could be sent and published in the Gissing Journal . Everyone present thought it was an excellent idea.
5. QUIZ: none to be offered this coming year.
6. Election of Officers: All Members present felt it was sensible as it was an odd and unusual year, that all current officers should be reappointed for another year.
7. A.O.B. : For the survival of the Emile Zola Society, each Committee Member should have a deputy able to take over immediately, if and when needed for the safeguard and the smooth running of the Society. Everyone attending agreed to it.
The Treasurer will liaise with the Secretary regarding cheque books, etc.
How can anyone help further? Publicity around you, the societies you belong to, and offering talks on late Nineteenth Century subjects such as Gissing, Dickens, Hardy, Wilde, etc. There is a slot in June 2021 either face to face or on Zoom.
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