Monthly Archives: July 2018

It is with deep sadness…

that I must record the death of my friend Martin Chown.

I have known Martin for a more than twenty years through our shared enthusiasm for Anthony Trollope’s writing. In that time I have attended countless seminars that he has organised in London to discuss Trollope’s novels. In these discussions, Martin could always be relied upon to recall those esoteric details that so many of us miss and which lend Trollope his unparalleled air of verisimilitude in his representation of the middle class life of the Victorian era.

Martin was a tireless member of the Trollope Society committee and, in his role supporting the running of seminar groups around the country, contributed as much as anyone in bringing Trollope’s work to the attention of readers, which, of course, is the primary objective of the Society.

I shall also remember Martin, from my time with him on the committee, for his personal charm and the diffident air with which he would voice his opinions. He was ever one to defer to others, even those whose views might be less solidly grounded than his own, in order to achieve a compromise and reach a consensus decision.

There will be a Memorial Celebration for Martin on Thursday, August 30th 2018 at 12.00 noon at ARC St John’s Arts and Recreation Centre, Old Harlow CM17 0AJ. Refreshments will be provided and the event, which is intended to be a celebration of Martin’s life and work, will be followed by the burial of his ashes at Epping Forest Burial Park CM16 6AD (estimated time roughly 14.30pm).

It would be helpful, if you intend to go to Martin’s Memorial, if you could e-mail the Society (info@trollopesociety.org) in order that numbers can be known in advance for the catering and other arrangements.

For those coming by train, the nearest Station is HARLOW MILL which is on the line from Paddington. The HARLOW TOWN Station is in the New Town and will probably require a taxi journey.

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Terence Rattigan Birthday Dinner

The Terence Rattigan Society held its annual birthday dinner to mark what would have been Rattigan’s 107th birthday on Tuesday 10th June and I was privileged to be invited as a guest. The event took place at the Oxford and Cambridge Club on Pall Mall – Rattigan was an alumnus of Trinity College, Oxford.

The evening was marked by the formal appointment of Julian Fellowes as a Vice President of the Society – he holds an equivalent position in the Trollope Society and featured a special guest speaker Professor John Bertolini, the Ellis Professor of English and Liberal Arts at Middlebury College in Vermont.

Professor Bertolini spoke movingly of the fluctuations in the critical reception by students of Rattigan as a playwright throughout his long career. He had seen Rattigan all but dismissed in decades past as “weak tea” but in recent years had seen a resurgence of interest in his plays with a recognition of the powerful yet understated emotions of his characters that gives his works an authenticity lacking in more exaggerated roles that had previously found favour with his students.

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