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THE EMILE ZOLA SOCIETY

Contact:
Hon Secretary: Chantal S. Morel
35 Mayfield Avenue, Chiswick, London, W4 1PN
Mobile: 00 44 (0) 787 508 9964

Website:   www.emilezolasocietylondon.org.uk
Email:   zolasoc@mail.com

Report of AGM 2018

MINUTES OF AGM HELD ON 30 November 2018 at 6pm

1.- APOLOGIES were received from Keith Holdaway, Laìs, Line and Members outside UK and/or outside Greater London.

2.- MINUTES OF PREVIOUS AGM: see The Emile Zola Society website.

3.- MATTERS ARISING: None.

4.- OFFICERS’ REPORTS

President’s Report

This report has to start with humble apologies for my very late arrival for the AGM - though I thought I was arriving early – at ten to seven! I had unfortunately forgotten that the meeting starts not at 7 but 6!!! So sorry. This what I would have said, if I’d had time:

First, welcome! And especially to new members! – two striking differences from last year’s AGM – one, that we are in November not December and that’s because the December date seemed to clash with so many other events. The other is of course that we are in a new place which I think you’ll agree is a great improvement and we owe special thanks to Pamela for finding this – and Chantal who helped to bring this about. I’d like also to express our warm appreciation of the National Liberal Club’s cooperation and help in setting things up for our meeting.

To run briefly through last year, at the last AGM we had Keith’s lovely pictures and caricatures of Zola, which we greatly enjoyed – though the facilities last year were not as helpful as we would have wished. This year we have David King’s illustrated talk on Escoffier still to come. In February we had the talk on L’Oeuvre by Hélène Sicard-Cowan – now included in the current Bulletin, which I hope you now have and will enjoy. In April, we had a very pleasant annual dinner at Richoux, where the winners of the Quiz were announced. Last year’s quiz was a foodie one and this year it is based on Germinal. It’s visible on the new Quiz page on our website. I’d like once again to thank Alan Riddle for his work on the website, also Keith Howell and Sati MacKenzie for helping to keep it up to date and Sati for providing the Quiz. I hope we are all keeping in touch with the website – all the Society’s events are there along with a great many other things relevant to Zola.

The main event of the year for the Society was the International Colloquium in June on which we collaborated with the University of Lille. The theme was ‘Industrial Landscapes’ in the work of Zola and other late-19th-century writers. Lille was the ideal place for the conference with the mines depicted in Germinal within easy reach. On the Saturday after the end of the conference there was a visit to the Anzin mine – which, I heard, was extremely worthwhile. I was not well that day and unable to go. One highlight of that visit was a very interesting talk from a former miner. The conference drew contributors from all over the world – including Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, Iran, Spain, Portugal, the United States and Canada. Our guests of honour were Henri Mitterand, the world’s most distinguished Zola scholar, Professor Susan Harrow a well-known Zolian from Bristol, and Madame Monique Sicard from Paris. Il was a very lively, friendly event, full of interest, covering very different subjects and points of view, and it included a splendid exhibition of Zola’s photographs, even showing some of the cameras he used. The Society will be publishing the papers from the Colloquium next year. The last event in the Society’s calendar was the annual visit to Zola’s house in Médan – and Chantal will report on that

So that was last year – what of the future?  We hope that Martine Le Blond Zola will be able to give us a talk at some point during the year, and in March [April 13th – ed.] we shall be holding the eighth of our Annual Saturday Seminars. This year the central theme will be Politics in the work of Zola and other writers of his time. Speakers and their chosen topics will be announced in the new Year

We are trying to re-establish a good working relationship with the French Institute, and I hope we can look forward to a new and successful year for the Society in 2019. I hope all of us will do our best to publicise our events, and try to bring in new members. Finally, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! 

Treasurer’s Report

This year we organised a very successful international colloquium which was held at the University of Lille. The Proceedings will be published in 2019.  A financial report has not yet been finalised, but the net income after payment of remaining expenses and refunds to people unable to attend will be approximately £2683.25. The costs of publishing the Proceedings and mailing copies to contributors and deposit libraries in the United Kingdom will be paid from this amount.

We have had little expense in hosting our invited speakers this year. There was no income from seminar tickets this year.

The cost of the annual dinner was paid for individually at the restaurant by members.

The committee has decided to change our venue, despite this entailing an increase in the costs of hiring a room.

Details of certain items are not yet available and have therefore not been included in this year’s figures, notably (a) the expenses incurred by Alan Riddle who oversees our website; (b) the subscriptions for the current year which are not yet to hand; (c) the finalised accounts for the Lille colloquium; (d) the invoice for printing the Bulletin for 2018 has yet to be received; (e) the delayed payment of hospitality for invited speakers. 

Generous extra payments towards the fighting fund have been subsumed under other categories (e.g. subscriptions) and not listed separately. Many thanks to the members who contributed. 

On the whole the Society remains on a reasonable financial footing, but we need to attract more members and develop our programme of talks to make ourselves more attractive.

Editors’ Report

Since the international colloquium replaced this year’s March seminar, the papers published in the Bulletin this November were on a variety of subjects. The Proceedings of the colloquium are well in hand and it is hope that we will be able to publish them in the course of 2019.

Secretary’s Report

Date of AGM. Trying to avoid a clashwith other Societies, the date of our AGM was moved forward to November 30th. However, it still clashed with the French Circle of Chiswick!

Membership: We welcome several new members - Mary K. Gilbert, William Breslin, David Butler and Andrew Cox.

Renewals are coming through at a slow pace. Please note that the Renewal date is October, each year. Thank you for keeping that date in mind.

It is now possible to pay by Bank Transfer. Please do not forget to mention your name when you do so. Failing that, we cannot keep track of Membership. If you can, please advise Secretary of your transfer payment.

Programme for the next six months:

The Bulletin of The Emile Zola Society, nos. 57-58, April and October 2018, was sent to all paid Members for last year and Libraries in France, UK and the USA. (Apologies to D.K. who received the only faulty copy in the pack!)

Pélerinage to Médan. As last year, we met at St Lazare Station, took a train around 11.00 for Villennes-sur-Seine, met other Zolaphiles at Villennes and went for lunch at our favourite restaurant. As there were enough cars available, we all drove to Médan on time for the talks. This year the General Director of UNESCO, Mme Audrey Azoulay and Mme Eléonore Reverzy from the University of Paris-Sorbonne Nouvelle were guest speakers. Their talks can be found on the website of Les Cahiers Naturalistes:  www.cahiers-naturalistes.com

Assistant Secretary's Report

Pamela Birley regretted that due to illness she was unable to help during the past months.

Sati McKenzie issued yet another Quiz, easier than the previous one, and covering only Germinal. She awaits your findings with interest. Due date: April

5.- ELECTION OF OFFICERS: all were re-elected on a show of hands.

6.- A.O.B: The Members present at the AGM wished everyone a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.

* * *

Report of AGM 2017

MINUTES OF AGM HELD ON 1 DECEMBER 2017 at 6pm

at More House, 53 Cromwell Road, London SW7

1. APOLOGIES received from Miriam and David King, Line Playfair, Maureen Brough, Keith Holdaway.

2. MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING: taken as read.

3. MATTERS ARISING: none

4. OFFICERS’ REPORTS:

- President’s Report:

Welcome – good to see you on this wintry night. I’m sure you’ll all agree it’s been a quite eventful year, what with Trump trumpeting and Brexit brexiting, not to mention epidemics of sexual harassment. It’s nice to escape into the late nineteenth century with Zola, though that era was not without its problems, problems that often become the substance of Zola’s work.

Over the year, quite a lot has happened in the Emile Zola Society. At last year’s AGM, we had a talk on William Morris and Zola by the Reverend Philip Morse, a talk later followed by a visit to the William Morris House, which the Rev Morse very kindly organised for us. Chantal will tell you about that - I was unable to go. The text of his talk is available on our website.

In February, David King gave an illustrated lecture on Zola in Exile; I can’t comment on that either, since I was in Australia visiting my family in Sydney – which is where I shall be again this coming January. Let me just add here that David and Miriam were very sorry not to be here this evening as they were both caught up in theatre work. The demands of the theatre, along with a very difficult year, have led them to resign from our committee. They will remain members of the Society, and David will still be able to offer us his excellent illustrated lectures. In the course of the year David has done a lot of publicising of our events, and was very disappointed, as indeed are we, that we still don’t seem to be getting better attendance. I should like to take this opportunity to thank David and Miriam, on behalf of the Society, for their past help and support, and look forward to seeing them again in the future. I hope meanwhile that all of you will do your best to publicise our events and try to bring in new members.

Now back to the events of the past year. March saw our Seventh annual Saturday Seminar – a particularly lively and enjoyable Seminar it proved to be – on the theme of ‘Costume and Character’. Danielle Bishop, Jennifer Yee and Aileen Ribeiro all gave exciting accounts of costume, fashion and style as reflected in the 19th-century novel. Their fascinating comments and pictures were followed by David King’s illustrated presentation of Worth, who appears in La Curée as the fashion designer Worms – a name easily mispronounced by the uninstructed anglophone.

In April we had our ‘Avec Zola à table’ dinner at Richoux. It proved to be a good choice with a pleasant atmosphere and nice food and very easy to get to, being right next to Gloucester Rd tube station. We shall go there again next year. At last year’s dinner, we announced the prizewinners of the Zola quiz, created by Dr Sati McKenzie. The results are posted up on our web-site. Sati is offering us a new – foodie — quiz for next year, so keep watching the web-site. All the Society’s events are there, along with a great many other things, among which I’d like to draw particular attention to some very sad news, news of the death of two long-term members of our Society. Both were distinguished Zola scholars: Sarah Capitanio, who died in France, where she had been living for some time, and Nelly Wilson, a regular visitor to the Society until illness made attendance impossible. Many of you will remember her friendly face and lively contributions to discussions. She will be much missed.

In June we had a showing of Jean Renoir’s film of La Bête Humaine, and in October, the annual visit to Médan – Chantal will tell you about that. I had hoped to get there this year but illness made it impossible. Well, that was the year that was, but what of the future?

The immediate future will give us Keith Howell’s presentation of ‘Images of Zola’, then in February we have a talk from Hélène Sicard –Cowan on Zola’s L’Œuvre and in April our Annual Dinner, again in Richoux. There will be no Saturday Seminar next year as we have our big International Colloquium coming up in June. We are collaborating with the University of Lille and others for a Colloquium on ‘Landscapes of Industry: Zola and the Social Realities of his Time’, to be held at the University of Lille from June 13-16. All the details are on the web-site. I’m happy to say that proposals for papers for the Colloquium are coming in quite well. So we look forward to a new and successful year for the Society in 2018. Let me just wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year, and now over to our Honorary Treasurer, Patrick, to tell us about our financial situation.

- Treasurer’s Report:

The year has seen continued activity in the Society. The papers from our successful March Seminar on Zola: Clothes and Character were printed in this year’s Bulletin, and we can also thank those members who have given generously to our ‘fighting fund’. A small deficit was incurred on the Annual Dinner, which can be accounted for by a couple of invitations which were in respect of lectures and services given. The figure for Alan Riddle’s expenses for looking after our website – and for which we again thank him warmly- are to bring our debt to him up-to-date: the amount accounts for expenses incurred in the two years ending December 2016 and December 2017 respectively.

Although this year’s figures show an excess of income over expenditure, the underlying trend in our finances is still downward, and we should continue to make efforts to attract new members. Since last December, however, postal costs in particular have risen substantially, and these, together with the charge of hiring venues, leads me regretfully to propose an increase in membership fees, to take effect from 1st January 2018. As you know, our fees have remained unchanged for a considerable time. I suggest that from that date the new annual subscription fees should be:

Patrick Pollard (Hon.Treasurer)

- Editors’ Report:

The Bulletin appeared last month, with some very good articles and splendid pictures. We hope you enjoyed it. There were one or two glitches -a sizeable bit of my review of Jennifer Yee’s book somehow got left out so I do seem to be writing some gobbledygook… and some pictures were in the wrong place. Otherwise all was well.

We are still hoping and asking for you to send in material for the Bulletin – even if only of the ‘Letters to the Editor’ sort… telling us what you appreciate and what extra things you would like to see. Personal stories of your own reading of Zola, or moment in your life that somehow connect  with Zola – such things would make a very welcome contribution, so please, once again, do send us things for the Bulletin.

Valerie Minogue & Patrick Pollard (Editors)

- Deputy-President’s Report:

There is a lot more we could add to the website. It is up to Members to let us know what they would like to see there. Please send us your ideas/thoughts.

Keith Howell (Deputy-President) 

- Secretary’s Report:

- Membership: to-date, 34 paid-up Members. Two Zolaphiles from California have just joined and said ‘thank you’ to the Emile Zola Society for existing!

May I take this opportunity to remind Members that Membership renewals are due on October 15th each year. Please note that new tariffs now apply: £ 25 (Conc. £20) for UK; £30 for Europe ; £35 outside Europe.

We were very sorry that Miriam and David were no longer able to continue as publicity officers since they both have an increasing number of personal commitments. We would like to record our appreciation of their past work for the Society and look forward to seeing them as ordinary members at future meetings.

The name of the French Institute should no longer appear on the cover page of the Bulletin. Please address all communications to me at 35 Mayfield Avenue, London W4 1PN or email zolasoc@mail.com. Transferring data from 3 or 4 different PCs and/or Macs often causes disruptions in text and illustrations. We apologize to writers whose texts and/or illustrations were not as submitted.

Copies of past Bulletins are still available for purchase.

- TRIP TO KELMSCOTT, William Morris’ Manor in Gloucestershire, on May 20th 2017, organized by the Reverend Philip  and Mrs Morse, with the collaboration of their daughter and a Reverend friend.

The party left Paddington station at 10.15 for Kemble Station and were met by the Morse Family and friend who took them by car, through the lovely countryside, to The Plough Inn Restaurant in Kelmscott Village. The lunch menu had been selected by all participants and booked by Mrs Morse.  This was followed by a walk to Kelmscott Manor, a visit of William Morris’ house, a tour of the shop and high tea at the Morse’s. Irene had baked several types of cakes for us all. The Party enjoyed their warm and welcoming home, filled with William Morris’ memorabilia and wall papers. Return by car to Kemble station and off to Paddington by the 18.47 train. A beautiful and memorable outing!

All our thanks to the Reverend Philip Morse and his wife, Irene, for planning such an interesting visit and for welcoming us all to their home for tea.

- MEDAN PILGRIMAGE, Sunday 1 October 2017

As usual, we met at Gare St Lazare in Paris and took the 11.00 train for Villennes-sur-Seine (direction Poissy). On arrival we met with other Zolaphiles and walked to the Auberge Ile-de-France where we enjoyed a gourmet lunch. A jolly table of 16 pilgrims! We reached Zola’s House on time for the speeches, starting at 3pm.

Martine Le Blond Zola, Vice-President of the Société littéraire des Amis d’Emile Zola, reminded us of the late Pierre Bergé, the remarkable benefactor who did so much for Médan but also for so many other establishments such as the National Gallery in London (he contributed to the refurbishment of 2 rooms), l’Opéra national de Paris, Le Jeu de Paume, le Centre Georges Pompidou, and of course, his negociations in favour of the Tibetans and the  Dalai Lama, gay communities, etc… He will be greatly missed.

Jean-Michel Pottier, the second speaker, is a lecturer from the University Reims-Champagne-Ardennes at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Research on Aesthetic and Literary Models (CRIMEL). He underlined how much amitié (friendship) meant to Zola and to the people who visited him in Paris and in Médan. The author enjoyed the company of his friends and invited them on a regular basis, for example at “les rendez-vous du jeudi”, with Maupassant, Alexis, Céard, Hennique, Huysmans, Thyebaut, Rod, Mirbeau, Bruneau, etc. Happiness and freedom prevailed during their meetings. With friendship there was a sense of agreement/ commitment in the name of truth and justice and therefore a requirement for courage. “La plume est l’arme de l’intelligence et […] elle fait œuvre de vérité” [the weapon of intelligence is the pen […] and it works for truth].

La jeunesse nous écoute ; elle a plus besoin de vérité que de respect” [Young people are listening to us; they require truth more than respect]

The publisher, Charpentier, always brought Zola loads of press articles commenting on his work. Zola called them his ‘crapauds’ (toads) and he said that all the attacks against himself helped him to strenghthen, tonify and enlarge his brain.  He wanted to write a book on these attacks and would have called it “Leurs injures [their insults]”. Thanks to them, he said, I became stronger, more courageous, and patient,  with resignation and love for truth and justice.

To his wife he wrote: “Et tu sais ce que j’ai fait ? un article, écrit en un coup de foudre… J’étais hanté, je n’en dormais plus, il a fallu que je me soulage, je suis assez fort, je brave tout.” [Do you know what I did? I wrote an article, in one crash of thunder… I was possessed, I could no longer sleep, I had to free myself, I am strong enough, I can withstand everything].

Of Dreyfus, Zola said: “Il s’est montré admirable, sans une plainte, d’un courage hautain, d’une tranquille certitude dans la vérité” [He behaved admirably, without complaining, showing pride and courage, and was at ease, knowing that truth would prevail].

The third speaker was Claude Hagège, a French linguist, born in Carthage, Tunisia, elected to the Collège de France in 1988. He received several awards including the Prix de l’Académie française and the CNRS Gold Award. He talked about Zola the poet and gave numerous quotations from Le Ventre de Paris – Les Halles, of course, with its flowers, fruit, cheese, and its people, such as la Belle Lisa; L’Assommoir with Gervaise and the distillation apparatus; Au Bonheur des Dames; Germinal and the march of the miners’ wives, followed by the miners themselves; La Bête humaine  and its portrayal of primitive, barbaric, blood thirsty instincts… and the death of La Lison. He quoted Jaurès who had said “la révolution sociale a enfin trouvé son poète” [the social revolution has at last found its poet].

He finally gave a few quotations from Zola’s essays: “La vérité monte d’un coup d’aile jusqu’au symbole […]. La phrase se fait en moi toujours par euphonie. C’est une musique qui me prend et que j’écoute. J’entends le rythme de la phrase. J’attaque la phrase laissant à l’euphonie le soin de l’achever […]” [Truth wings upward until it becomes symbol […]. Sentences form themselves in my mind through euphony. I am inspired by their music and I listen to it. I hear the rhythm of a sentence. I begin the sentence and leave it to euphony to complete it].

5. LILLE COLLOQUIUM

I visited Lille on November 14-15 and met with Karl Zieger and his colleagues who are all eager to cooperate on our 2018 Colloquium.

The Library there is planning an exhibition on Zola on the theme of the colloquium. Items will come from their Reserve Stock; I might send them a few English novels of Zola in English, from my own collection, in order to add to their exhibits.

The Director of Logistics at Lille 3 promised to put up a signposted route from the Métro in Villeneuve d’Ascq to the meeting point in the University.

The Director responsible for meals is reserving two rooms next to the Amphitheatre for buffet lunches,  as well as  Coffee/tea breaks in the adjacent hall.

Documents will be drawn up and sent to participants, covering Hotels, transport, and outings, etc.

Jean-Sébastien Macke, from ITEM/CNRS, is hoping to organize an evening of music and cinema at the University, as well as outings on Saturday 16th June. There will be a visit to the Mine Museum in Lewarde; and a visit to Anzin. The Society will liaise with a coach company, and participants who go on the outing will be asked to pay 20 € (to be confirmed). People who need to leave early on Saturday will be able to catch a train from Valenciennes to Lille after lunch. Jean-Sébastien has offered to take them by car to Valenciennes.

Lunch on Saturday will be at Anzin, and will be provided at participants’ individual cost. 

6. AGENDA for 2018:

7. ELECTION OF OFFICERS

Following the resignation of our two Publicity Officers no other names for these posts were put forward. However, the Committee would like to welcome Dr Sati Mckenzie who was elected as a new Committee Member with general responsibilities.

All the other Committee Members were duly re-elected.

* * *

OBITUARIES

SARAH CAPITANIO 1951–2017

Members of the Society will be saddened to learn that on 30 June the distinguished Zola scholar Sarah Capitanio collapsed on the boulevard de Verdun in the Avignon suburb of Les Angles, and could not subsequently be revived. She will be remembered for her lifelong devotion to nineteenth-century French fiction, in particular her demonstrations of how Naturalism drew on the storytelling strategies of the popular novel. Those of us who listened to the paper she gave at the centenary colloquium organised by Chantal in September 1993 might have been surprised to hear Zola’s works mentioned alongside bestsellers by Bernard Clavel, Robert Sabatier and Régine Deforges, but would soon be convinced of the validity of the comparisons. Collectors of the Bulletin will recall her short piece ‘The Centenary of J’Accuse...!’.

Sarah came to further education at Wolverhampton Polytechnic, in its pre-university days, via secondary schoolteaching,  a career path that equips academics with the greatest degree of empathy with the needs and capabilities of the student population. These skills came to the fore in the Graduate School when the traditional cull in Modern Languages prompted a timely sideways move. It was a shared endeavour, since her husband John Macmillan also taught there. She held high office in the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France, where she served as reviews editor for the journal, and was one of the founding members of the Society of Dix-Neuviémistes, which came into being around the turn of the millennium.

Sarah’s Ph.D. thesis, awarded by the University of Manchester in 1991, was entitled ‘An Examination of Critical Approaches to Zola’s La Curée’, and it was a privilege and a treat to conduct her viva. If the neutral-sounding title of an 1987 article in the Cahiers naturalistes, ‘Les Mécanismes métaphoriques dans La Curée’, had hinted at the promise of what was to come, the following years of critical reflection, in which rich narratological strategies were compared and contrasted in their applicability to Zola, proved to be considerably more fruitful. One remembers the discussion of the relevance to La Curée of Vladimir Propp’s theories on the morphology of folk tales, and the exemplification in Zola’s novel of the sumptuous analyses of narrative hierarchisation and temporality developed by Gérard Genette in Figures III. The second of her three articles for the Cahiers naturalistes (1994) foregrounds ideas on hypertextuality, the way a text is begotten by another, as outlined in Genette’s Palimpsestes. Her clarity of critical vision enabled Sarah to make narratology, often a tough nut to crack, clear and comprehensible to the reader.

A favourite memory of the communication skills of this charismatic speaker is that of her tour de force at another Zola centenary conference, on La Bête humaine (Glasgow, 1990). One of those attending happened to mention that he struggled with the target language in which it was to be delivered, whereupon Sarah threw away her script and launched into an impromptu English version! A noble sacrifice indeed, though some of us felt a little cheated that we would not hear her perform in her most polished French.

It is sad to think that we shall hear no more the throaty, pomp-deflating chuckle of one who was renowned for her kind hospitality during a decade of great elegance spent in Sauveterre, and whose devotion to teaching and mentoring in the humanities will not soon be forgotten.

Geoff Woollen

NELLY WILSON (née Jussem) 1930-2017

We are very sad to have to announce the death of Nelly Wilson, the celebrated researcher and writer on late French nineteenth-century cultural and political life, whose expert knowledge of the Dreyfus affair was widely acknowledged and admired.  A steadfast member of the Émile Zola Society from its very beginnings, Nelly was born in Vienna and came to England when she was 15, in 1945,  as one of 150 former concentration-camp children, invited by the British Government to settle in this country. She later went on to Bristol University, where she graduated with a BA Honours degree. This was followed by many years of research in France, preparing her doctoral thesis for the doctorat d'état, presented at the University of Paris. She then returned to Bristol University where she taught in the French department as Senior Lecturer.

Her longstanding interest in the Dreyfus Affair and its background led to the publication of her two excellent books – Charles Péguy (London, 1965) and Bernard Lazare. Antisemitism and the problems of Jewish identity in late nineteenth-century France, first published by CUP 1978 and now in paperback (2010). The second of these was awarded the Jewish Chronicle non-fiction prize.

We remember Nelly as a very warm-hearted person, with a ready, sometimes impish, wit and an enthusiastic interest in Zola, the Dreyfus case and that whole period which she had researched in depth and knew so very well.  She seemed always to have something new and interesting to offer to any discussion of Zola and his work, from his views on politics, to his writings on art,  on society or on life in general. Always good-humoured, she was a very welcome member and participant in the Emile Zola Society; her contributions to our Society will be long remembered, and her friendly and lively presence will be greatly missed. 

Valerie Minogue

 

Report of AGM 2016

MINUTES OF AGM HELD ON 2 DECEMBER 2016 at 6pm

at More House, 53 Cromwell Road, London SW7

PRESIDENT'S WELCOME

Good evening, everybody, and welcome — another year gone by!

It’s been an interesting and varied year, in which we’ve had to cope with losing the room at the French Institute which had been our home since 1990, the year the Society was founded with the patronage of the then French Ambassador. It is sad indeed that the room we had is now too expensive for us. We have held our meetings elsewhere, and More House, near as it is to our previous home, seems to suit very well. We are no longer connected with the Institute, so please don’t send membership subscriptions there, and please don’t go there for the Society’s events - our events are all on the website, so do consult it.

AGENDA

1. APOLOGIES received from Sarah McKenan.
2. MINUTES OF LAST AGM: taken as read.
3. MATTERS ARISING: none.
4. OFFICERS’ REPORTS

President’s Report

Looking back over the year, our AGM in December last year at the Baden Powell House in Queensgate, was followed by an illustrated talk by our Vice-President Keith Howell, who commented with his usual humour on pictures featuring Gervaise the laundress of L’Assommoir. The first meeting of 2016 was in January, here at More House, where David King gave a very interesting talk on ‘Zola in Exile’, illustrated with photographs, many taken by Zola himself. In March, our Sixth Annual Seminar was held in Senate House: the theme was ‘Scenes from Domestic Life’. Three of the papers are in the Bulletin: Hannah Scott on the miseries of Zola’s exile in England, with its incomprehensible language and food, and Claire Moran on the way that the Impressionists’ painting of interior spaces may have affected Zola’s depiction of similar scenes in his novels. Eileen Horne gave some readings from her book, Zola and the Victorians - a second edition has come out this year. A fourth paper by Professor Anne Green on Flaubert was unfortunately committed elsewhere, so couldn’t be included in the Bulletin. We went to a restaurant for a convivial dinner after the Seminar.

The Annual Dinner in April was as usual a friendly and jolly buffet supper at the Bistro. Alan Riddle, who manages the Society’s website, was our guest of honour, as he will continue to be. In June, the Society again met at More House, where three young film-makers discussed their plans for a short film, freely adapted from Zola’s Nana. This was followed by a look at the opening scenes of Renoir’s 1926 silent film of Nana. The annual visit to Zola’s House at Médan took place on the first Sunday of October, on which Chantal will comment, and the next event after that is of course this, the AGM of December 2016 – and here indeed we are!

And what of the future? Well, at the end of this AGM, we’ll have the promised talk from Philip Morse, and in February next year David King will be here talking about ‘Les Soirées de Médan’. In March, the Seventh Annual Saturday Seminar will be on the theme ‘Costume and Character’. On April 21 we’ll have the Annual Dinner, we don’t yet know where, but we’ll post it in the Website when it’s fixed. In June, there will be a talk by Hélène Sicard-Cowan on ‘Fear Of Water in Zola’s L’Œuvre’ and in October, the annual visit to Zola’s house in Médan, and on December 1, the AGM for 2017.

I hope you all have your copies of the Bulletin, and hope you will enjoy it. We the editors, Patrick and I, invite you all to contribute to its pages — whether with notes, articles, comments, or suggestions for items you’d like to see. We’ve had little response thus far, but we’ll keep asking, and keep hoping that some of you will send us something for the pages of the Bulletin. Some of you may have heard the Radio 4 version of the Rougon-Macquart with Glenda Jackson, or you may have seen the lovely film Cézanne et moi shown recently at Ciné Lumière — we’d be very glad to have your views on these, or other Zola-related topics. Finally, let me wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Treasurer’s Report

The current year has seen expenditure on our successful March Seminar on 'Scenes of Family Life's and on our double October issue of the Society's Bulletin, illustrated this year with engravings from Zola's novels from the collection of our vice-president Keith Howell. We have also invited several speakers to our meetings, which incurred the payment of reasonable expenses and hospitality. We are still, however, spending more money than we have received. We are no longer holding our meetings in the French Institute, because their costs for renting a room are very high: the item on hire of rooms reflects this change. More needs to be done to increase our membership and general outreach.

Vice-President’s Report

The Bulletin needs more input from Members who should please tell us what they are looking for and would like to see appear in it. Larger illustrations? An illustration/cartoon on the last page (p. 40)? Less illustrations and more texts? On front page, we need to remove Institut Français and its address.

Publicity Officers’ Report

Flyers published and distributed for past events.

Assistant Secretary’s Report

Pamela has offered to welcome people at the door and ask them for their support. Proposal seconded by Miriam.

Secretary’s Report

The Médan Pilgrimage, on Sunday 2nd October, marking the 114th Anniversary of Zola’s Death and the 110th Anniversary of Alfred Dreyfus’ Rehabilitation, welcomed French President François Hollande. His speech can be found on the following site:

http://www.elysee.fr/declarations/article/discours-a-l-occasion-du-pelerinage-litteraire-de-medan-a-la-maison-zola-musee-dreyfus-2/.

A summary in English can be found on our Site in the Section “Our Programme” ‘Past Events: 2016’.

Membership: So far, 28 Members have renewed their membership, not counting the 5 Libraries in France and in the USA. On the question of increasing the price of the Membership, our Treasurer thought that we might lose a few Members in the process; some Members felt that everyone could chip-in on the day of the Meeting; others put forward the view that Members were already paying for membership,and therefore did not have to contribute to extra payments.

There is a need for recruiting ‘new blood’.

Members are reminded to address all mail to 35 Mayfield Avenue, Chiswick, W4 1PN and NOT to the Institut français; to make their cheques payable to The Emile Zola Society; and to check our Website on a regular basis for up-dates.

5. PROGRAMME FOR 2017

~ 10 February: More House, 6pm, 'Les Soirées de Médan' by David King.

~ March Saturday Seminar, from 2pm, on 'Costume and Character' (details to follow).

~ 20 May: Outing to Kelmscott, William Morris’ House in Oxfordshire. Departure from Paddington Station to Kemble in the morning, lunch at a local pub, visit of the House, tea at the Morse’s, return to Kemble Station and train back to Paddington around 5pm (details to follow). Private cars are welcomed to convey Members from Kemble Station to William Morris’ House and back. So far only 13 Members can be accommodated; it will be on a first come basis.

~ 23 June: More House, 6pm, 'Fear of water… in L’Oeuvre by Hélène Sicard-Cowan.

~ 1 October: Médan.

~ 1 December: AGM followed by a discussion on the latest adaptation of Thérèse Raquin or a DVD adaptation of Zola’s work (La Bête humaine, Gervaise, Nana, or Thérèse Raquin) (details to follow).

6. ELECTION OF OFFICERS

All current Officers agreed to sit again for the coming year and were duly re-elected by the Meeting.

7. A.O.B.

Sati offered to have a go at a Zola Quiz for the Website (a free Membership for first correct answer).
The Bulletin could be distributed at AGM in order to save on envelopes and postage; Sati is prepared to receive an E-Bulletin.

8. DATE OF NEXT AGM

December 1, More House, 6pm, followed by a talk or a DVD show (details to follow).

END OF AGM at 7.10pm.

 

 

Report of AGM 2015

MINUTES OF AGM HELD ON 4 DECEMBER 2015

at Baden-Powell house, 65-67 Queen's Gate, London SW7 5JS

1. APOLOGIES were received from Maureen and Gordon Brough.

2. The MINUTES of the 2014 AGM can be found on the website of the Society.

3. There were no MATTERS ARISING that are not dealt with below.

4. OFFICERS’ REPORTS

President’s Report 2015

First, Good evening and welcome everybody. It's great to be seeing you again.

I'll start by just running quickly through the events of the year.

At this time last  year, we had our AGM as usual at the French Institute, and that was followed by a splendid show of slides by our Vice-President Keith Howell, on 'Adultery, Madness and Ghostly Revenge', all accompanied by his usual knowledgeable and entertaining commentary.

In February, Geoff Woollen gave us a fascinating talk on Zola and his first translator, Ernest Vizetelly.

In March, in the Fifth Annual Saturday Seminar on the general topic of  'Zola's priests':
~ Alison Finch discussed the secular schools of the Third Republic, and Zola's women;
~ Aude Campmas' subject was the botanical background of La Faute de l'abbé Mouret; 
~ John Hackett outlined Zola's move into ideology in the later novels, especially Travail; 
~ Patrick Pollard also focused on the later period with his analysis of Vérité.

All four papers, in modified form, have now appeared in the Bulletin, which we hope you have received and enjoyed, with its excellent illustrations supplied by Keith.

Patrick and I, as editors of the Bulletin, would like to know if you have any suggestions or comments to offer. It would be really nice to have a page of'  'Readers' comments' - or 'letters to the Bulletin'.  But such a page can only happen if we actually get some comments or letters, so I'm taking this opportunity to remind you. For instance, some of you may have been listening to the Radio 4 version of Zola's novels, with Glenda Jackson narrating. We'd be delighted to have your comments on that.

Our annual dinner at the Bistro in April was the usual, jolly affair which I think we all greatly enjoyed.

The June talk, on ‘Zola and the cinema’ was given by Russell Cousins, who showed us one splendid snippet of early, and more recent, films, illustrating the way Zola very visual writing lends itself so well to cinematic treatment.

And now what of the future?  We don't have a February talk lined up yet, but I think that may be arranged very soon, and we shall of course let you know by email, and through the website, as soon as we have that sorted. Let me seize this chance to say, à propos of the website, how very grateful we are to Alan for his excellent management of it.

The Sixth of our Saturday Seminars will take place on March 19th 2016: the theme will be 'Scenes of Domestic Life' : we're inviting papers not only on Zola but also on other writers and artists of that time. 

Further items of the 2016 programme will be publicised as soon as available. All of which brings us to the here and now - and I need to explain the 'here'  - for we were unable to hold our AGM in the usual place, since the French Institute can no longer offer us the basement room that we have used since the Society was launched twenty-five years ago. I hope, however, that we shall settle down happily in a new habitat.  

I'm sure you're all longing to get on to Keith's presentation of  'Three sheets to the wind', so  I'll just pass you on now to Chantal and Patrick, and then it will be Keith and his laundress, as promised.

Thank you for your attention,and that's all, except to wish you A Happy Christmas, everyone, and a Happy New Year!

Valerie Minogue.

Treasurer’s Report

This financial year has included a very successful Saturday Seminar on Zola's Priests, which we have published in the October 2015 issue of our Bulletin.

In December 2014 we also published the proceedings of our 2013 international colloquium Rethinking the Real with a small grant from the French Government for which we are very grateful.

We also invited several speakers to our meetings which incurred the payment of reasonable expenses and hospitality. However, the present financial position of the Society leaves room for concern. Following an excess of expenditure over income in the year 2013-2014 we have again spent more than we have received. We now face additional costs for the hire of rooms for our meetings.

To address this negative financial trend I suggest that we should increase our membership, publicise our activities more effectively, find ways of increasing our overall income, and, since we have some capital in hand, we should devote money to our next scheduled Saturday Seminar in March 2016 and to a projected international colloquium in France in 2017.

Patrick Pollard

Secretary’s Report

Membership: Three Senior Members of the Society are no longer able to attend our meetings due to age and ill health: Mrs Venetia Okell, Mrs Kirstine Williams and Mrs Nelly Wilson. They were early founding members and will be dearly missed. We express our deepest sympathy and regrets.

To date, 26 Members have renewed their membership including 4 libraries (Harvard, La Bnf, La Sorbonne and Sainte Geneviève).

Please remember that the date for renewing your membership is 1 October each year. Prices remain the same as last year: £18 (concession £15) for UK; £25 for Europe; £30 outside Europe.

Bulletin:  No. 51-52 was sent out in October 2015. Professor Henri Mitterand – to whom a copy was sent- congratulated us on a very good issue: “un grand article, original, remarquablement informé, perspicace, sur la Joie de vivre. De même, la trilogie absolument neuve, sur les prêtres de Zola. La critique anglaise reste fidèle à sa grande tradition des investigations des oeuvres prises en elle-mêmes et pour elle-mêmes, dans leur thématique et les points d’appui de leur composition”.

E-Bulletin: two years ago, Members asked for an e-bulletin in order to save on printing and postage. However, most of our Members have asked for a printed copy.

Venue for our AGM: A note was added to the Bulletin to indicate the new venue, and another was displayed at the French Institute for Members .We are very pleased to see that the AGM is well attended.

Outing to Médan: This was a great success with a large British contingent. As in previous years, we enjoyed a delicious meal at Les Plaisirs d’Eté by the River Seine, followed by an extraordinary speech by French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira who was greeted with a fifteen minutes standing ovation. While she spoke she reminded me of Martin Luther King, style, empathy, a true speaker, a preacher whose words came directly from the heart. Her speech will appear in the next copy of Les cahiers naturalistes, as well as on its website. I might also soon have an audio copy, in French, should anyone wish to listen to it. I suggest that an English translation could be made and published in our next Bulletin so that Members who could not attend Médan would be able to listen to it. The other speaker was Hélène Grenaud-Tastain, Maître de conferences at Evry-Val-d’Essonne University. Her speech will also appear in Les cahiers naturalistes.

Chantal Morel.

5. PROGRAMME FOR 2016

~ Friday 27 January: A talk on ‘Zola’s London’ by David King at More House, Cromwell Road, SW7.

~ Saturday 19 March: Saturday Seminar on ‘Scenes of Domestic Life’ with four speakers (details to follow).

~ Friday 15 April: Annual Dinner ‘Avec Zola à table’ at the Bistro of the French Institute.

~ Friday 17 June: a talk (details to follow).

 

6. ELECTION OF OFFICERS

All current Officers agreed to sit again for the coming year and were duly re-elected at a show of hands.

7. DATE OF NEXT AGM

Friday 2nd December 2016.

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Report of AGM 2014

MINUTES OF AGM HELD AT 6pm ON 5 DECEMBER 2014

President’s Report 2014

A warm welcome to you all. It's been a quite eventful year, so there's quite a lot to say, but I'll keep it as short as possible so we can get through the main business and on to Keith's illustrated talk on 'Adultery, Madness and Ghostly Revenge'.

The most striking event of the year has been the death of our friend and colleague, the Editor of the Bulletin, David Baguley. He had warned us beforehand that he intended to resign from the editorship, but we had no idea he was so ill, nor that it would be so soon. Indeed I have gathered that when the end came, it came with astonishing speed, taking him too by surprise.

I should just like to say here what a great debt we owe him, and how much we appreciate his huge contribution to this Society - as President for so many years, and then again as Editor of the Bulletin. Perhaps you'd like to join me in a round of applause for that most distinsguished Zola scholar, our late colleague and friend, David Baguley.

Patrick and I managed to get the Bulletin together and it has come out, and it is of course dedicated to David. One thing we slipped up on, and that was the guidance to contributors which should have been on the back cover, but isn't. We'll make up for that in the next Bulletin, and we'll also be putting information of that sort on to the website. We'll be encouraging you there, and we're also encouraging you here, to let us know if there's anything special you'd like to see in the Bulletin. We'll be glad to have your comments and suggestions and we think it would be really nice to have a page of reader's comments - or 'letters to the Bulletin....'

Now a quick look back over the year ... at last year's AGM we had Patrick's splendid talk on 'Travelling by train with Zola'. In March we held the fourth of our Annual Saturday Seminars, on the theme 'Paris, Babylon, the Vices of Empire'. The Seminar was also a launching pad for my new translation of Zola's L'Argent — Money, which came out in March in Oxford World's Classics. It was certainly time for a new translation, since the previous one was Vizetelly's in the nineteeth-century!

In April we had our usual annual dinner, 'Avec Zola à table', at 'Côte', a French bistro in Turnham Green. In June, David King gave us an enthralling view of the life and family of Napoleon III, with lots of lovely pictures. In July, there was the annual outing —I'll leave that to Pamela to report.

Also in July, we had a lovely surprise, when the Society received a donation of €1000 from Madame Axelle Lemaire. This has been a great help toward publishing the book of papers from last year's International Colloquium on 'Rethinking the Real'. That volume is now almost ready for publication. Madame Lemaire was formerly Chair of the French Parliamentary Friendship Group, dealing with relations with the United Kingdom, and as such, based in London. In April she became minister for the digital economy, but while she was still in London, Madame Lemaire greatly enjoyed the Émile Zola Society, and this was her way of expressing her appreciation and gratitude.  We in turn wish to express our appreciation, and our profound gratitude for this very generous gesture. In October, there was the annual visit to Zola's house in Médan - Chantal will report.

Now a quick glance forward into 2015 - We may be having a lecture in February, but that is not yet fixed since it depends on what date we can have for the Fifth Saturday Seminar in March. We don't have a firm date for that yet, but we'll post it on the web as soon as we can, or let you know by email. The theme will be 'Zola's priests'. This will be interpreted very broadly to take in the struggle between Church and State at that time, with the Republicans pushing for secularization, and the Bonapartists making use of the priests of the Church for their own political purposes. Our speakers will be Alison Finch from Cambridge, Aude Campmas from Southampton, John Hackett, from Royal Holloway and Patrick Pollard. I don't have titles yet for the others, but Patrick's title will be 'Perverted Priests, Truth and Zola's Vérité. ' I'll be getting the other titles in January, and shall pass them to Alan to pop them into the website — speaking of which, I'd like on behalf of all of us, to express our great appreciation for Alan's excellent work in keeping our website afloat.

It's been a good and productive year on the whole, though so sadly overshadowed by the death of David Baguley.

Editor’s Report

Due to the sudden passing away of our Editor, last August, there is no Editor’s Report.

Treasurer’s Report

30 November 2013 -5 December 2014 was a quiet period after the previous year which included our successful International London Colloquium on “Rethinking the Real”. Payments out for the Colloquium continued to be made for the venue (Notre Dame University) and there were refunds for people prevented from attending. The costs of publication of the Acts will be met in the current period. The annual dinner 2014 was held outside the French Institute and therefore each member paid independently. At the March Seminar 2013 the speakers were hosted by the Society. The Website has proved useful, and again our thanks go to Alan Riddle for giving his time in return for expenses only.

As far as income is concerned in the period, we wish to record our warmest thanks to a donor for a generous gift to help with our activities. Subscriptions continue to be a reasonable source of funds, but we should do more to increase our membership No increase in subscription rates is proposed for the coming year, but we shall have to think about increasing the amount we charge for postage on overseas packets. We have derived some income from our seminars and lectures, and this has offset the costs of hospitality. The sale of publications has continued at a quiet but fairly steady rate.

Secretary’s Report

APOLOGIES received from Gordon and Maureen Brough, David King, David Lass, Philip Morse, Venetia Okell, Ian Pearce, Nelly Wilson, and Members living beyond Greater London, and outside UK.

MINUTES OF AGM 2013 taken as read.

MEMBERSHIP: Members are reminded that renewals are due in October each year: £18.00 for UK members (Concessions £15.00); £25.00 for Europe; £30.00 outside Europe.

BULLETIN no. 49/50 was sent out both in its ‘e’ and paper formats. Although a high response for e-bulletin was received, it appears that more and more members appreciate a paper copy, too.

Due to postal expenses being high, it has been decided to add postage and packing to the price of back copies of the Bulletin that are sent on demand, outside the current membership.

OUTING TO MEDAN, 1st Sunday in October

Once again, the Pilgrimage to Emile Zola’s House was well attended in spite of transport difficulties caused by works carried out on the Line ‘Saint Lazare-Médan’. After a lovely lunch at Les Plaisirs d’Eté Restaurant, we were priviledged to be listening to Jean-Pierre Chevènement, ex-Minister of France in the 1980’s and 1990’s, and Dr Aurélie Barjonet from the Université de Versailles-Saint Quentin en Yvelines.

M. Chevènement talked about Zola and war, especially the 1870-1871 Commune. He underlined the fact that the author had captured the weakness of France, her lack of a ‘moral spring’ under the Second Empire. He showed the horrors of war. However, Zola was not an ‘anti-militariste’ but he put the République and its values above the cult of the army –dixit Chevènement. He was in favour of a Franco-Russian alliance. Most of all, Zola had one love in his life, TRUTH. He said loudly and without any fear what he thought had to be said. His highly moral requirements gave back, to the République and to France, its strength...”

See M. Chevènement’s blog on http://www.chevenement.fr/Allocution-a-l-occasion-du-112eme-anniversaire -de-la-mort-d-Emile-Zola a1665.html.

Aurélie Barjonet, Maître de conférence and Deputy Head of Département des Lettres (Université de Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines, covered the Reception of Emile Zola in Germany, in the first half of the 20th Century. Her research deals mostly with comparative studies, in particular Heinrich Mann and Thomas Mann (The Buddenbrook).

Her presentation will be published in the next copy of Les Cahiers naturalists. See www.cahiers-naturalistes.com.

ARCHIVES

Due to the refurbishment of the Children Library of the Institut français, the Archives of the Emile Zola Society that were housed in the basement of the building, had to be moved before building work could start. After weeding the collections, I removed them to my home address. It concerns mainly back copies of the Bulletin, books published by the Society, and a few of Zola’s works, both in French and in English, as well as criticisms.

A list of duplicate books will soon be circulated to members who can select from it; it is understood that it is on a ‘first come first served basi’s; however it is ‘come and collect’ only.

Postcards reproduced from Zola’s originals, issued for the Centenary of his first visit to London in 1893, are still available (set of 6 postcards for £1.00 + pp.). Zola Photogr-apher is still available, too (£10.00 incl. pp).

PROGRAMME FOR 2015 (PLEASE CHECK THE DATES NEAR THE DAY)

~ February 20, 6 pm, Petite Salle, French Institute: “Zola and Vizetelly: Translator’s nightmare or the nightmare of a translator” by Dr Geoff Woollen, University of Glasgow.

~ March 21, 2 pm, Petite Salle, French Institute: Seminar on “Zola’s Priests” with Aude Campmas (University of Southampton), Professor Alison Finch (University of Cambridge), John Hackett (University of London) and Professor Patrick Pollard (University of London).

~ April 17, 7 pm, Le Bistrot, French Institute: “Avec Zola à table”, annual dinner. Forms will be sent at some later date.

~ June X , 6 pm, Petite Salle, French Institute: A talk by Dr Russell Cousins (details to be confirmed).

~ July X : Outing to Penn House; David & Myriam King will send details at a later date.

~ October 4: Visit to Zola’s House for the Annual Pélérinage de Médan. Meeting at Saint Lazare Station (Paris) at 10.30 am.

~ December 4, 6 pm: AGM, followed by a presentation by Keith Howell (details to be confirmed) and a pre-Christmas drink.

~ ELECTION OF OFFICERS

President: Valerie Minogue
Vice-President: Keith Howell
Editors: Valerie Minogue, Patrick Pollard and Monica Lebron
Treasurer: Patrick Pollard
Secretary: Chantal Morel
Assistant Secretary: Pamela Birley
Publicity Officer: David & Myriam King

Assistant Secretary's Report

Annual Outing Sunday 20th July 2014

Our annual outing this year was planned as a tour of Charles Dickens’s House; but plans, as we all know, can sometimes go awry. And so it proved on this occasion because, when five ‘Dickens’ enthusiasts arrived at the entrance to 48 Doughty Street, they found it barred against all comers. According to the rather scrappy note pinned to the door there had been ‘an incident.’ Exactly what kind of an ‘incident’ was not disclosed, and we did not dwell on the possibilities because our immediate problem was, “What are we going to do?” It was only 2.30pm on a very warm summer’s day but, happily, Mr. D. had chosen to reside in an area surrounded by buildings only too happy to entertain those visitors denied admittance to No. 48. So, we headed for the British Museum where, in the secluded surroundings of the Gallery Café, we partook of tea and cakes while chatting amicably as friends do. Not quite the afternoon we had initially set out to enjoy, but a very pleasurable one nevertheless.

* * *