Academic journal article The Byron Journal

The International Byron Societies: 2008-2009

Academic journal article The Byron Journal

The International Byron Societies: 2008-2009

Article excerpt


Our year started off with the Byron Society Annual Dinner in the House of Lords on 21 January. Our Sponsor was Lord Cobbold, Vice-President, and our speaker was Dr Peter Cochran, whose talk was entitled 'The Flash and the Fancy'. This was an enthralling account of Byron's life in the sporting fraternity of London. Mr Christopher Morris- Coole opened the discussion and Mr Derek Wise gave the Vote of Thanks. The evening was much enjoyed by all present.

On 11 April the Annual General Meeting was held at the Naval Club and was well attended. We were able to welcome a new member on to the Executive Committee - Dr Alan Rawes. We likewise welcomed a new Vice-President - Sir David Gilmour. Following the meeting, Mr Geoffrey Bond gave a talk on 'Collecting Byroniana', which we all greatly enjoyed.

On 1 May, Mrs Anne Fleming spoke on 'Byron and Montaigne'. This lecture showed how Byron had been influenced by the writings of Montaigne, and is published in this issue of The Byron Journal. The talk proved to be deeply thought-provoking, and the many members who attended showed their appreciation. The meeting was held at the Naval Club.

On 7 July we were delighted to welcome Professor Peter Graham (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) to the Naval Club and to hear him speak on 'Byron and Austen'. Professor Graham's talk explored the parallels between two of the most highly regarded writers of their time, and was interspersed with quotations from the writings of Austen and Byron delivered by members in the audience. Later at the buffet we were able to drink the health of Michael Foot, and to sing Happy Birthday to him on his 95th birthday; to which he responded by inviting us to his party on the following Sunday!

On 11 September, Mr Roderick Cavaliero gave a spirited talk entitled 'A Fatwa for Lord Byron' at the Naval Club. This meeting was very well attended and we all hugely enjoyed Roddy's lecture. There were many questions from members. Afterwards, at the buffet, we had the pleasure of wishing Anne Fleming a happy 80th birthday.

16 October brought us to the 'Celebration of the Life of The Rt Hon. Lord Gilmour of Craigmillar, PC', Vice-President and past Chairman. We were honoured by the presence of our Patrons, Their Majesties King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie, along with many members of Lord Gilmour's family and members of the Byron Society. The evening was held at the Institute of Directors, Pall Mall - a beautiful Nash House. Frederik Malmqvist, a Danish pianist, played Mozart on the grand piano and Ian's grandson, Alexander Gilmour, and Camilla Arfwedson, a fellow actor, gave readings from Byron, ending with extracts from his speech on the Frame Work Bill to the House of Lords. Frederik, Alexander and Camilla received great applause from all present.

On 5 November we had the pleasure of welcoming Professor Michael O'Neill (Durham University), who gave a riveting talk entitled 'The Fixed and the Fluid' (published in the last issue of this journal) that was much appreciated by all present at the Naval Club. Members took the opportunity of putting questions to Professor O'Neill afterwards.

At our Christmas Lunch at the Naval Club on 12 December, we were delighted to welcome Mr Benjamin Markovits, from Texas and London, who spoke on 'Byron and Irony'. Members were then able to participate in a question-and-answer session, which we all thoroughly enjoyed.

In October of last year, we were greatly saddened by the death of Jean Freeman, a founder member and first Hon. Secretary of the Byron Society, a fount of knowledge and invaluable advice as well as being one of our most faithful supporters over many years - hardly missing a meeting. She is keenly missed by all those who knew her.

Maureen O'Connor



The Australian Byron Society's 2008 activities began with the traditional Lord Byron's Birthday Lunch, held on Saturday 26 January at the Athenian Greek Restaurant. …

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