Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Our hotel for the AGM

Our hotel for the Joint Canada-US Richard III Society AGM will be the
Hilton Garden Inn Toronto/Oakville at 2774 South Sheridan Way, Oakville,
Ontario L6J 7T4, telephone: 905-829-1145 or 1-877-STAY-HGI.

For directions, please click on the hyperlinks: via Port Huron; via Pearson International Airport; via the Rainbow Bridge (near Niagara Falls); via Billy Bishop Airport (on Toronto Island, near downtown Toronto). If you are driving, the hotel does not charge for parking. 

Please note that Americans will require a passport to cross the Canada-US border. 

We have asked the hotel to set aside 25 hotel rooms for our group, so please let them know when you call (it's best to call) that you are part of the Richard III Society. All rooms are non-smoking.  Please note that the room rate we have negotiated with the hotel also includes breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. Breakfast is served from seven to eleven, however, AGM programming will begin at nine on Saturday and nine-thirty on Sunday (programming times subject to change). 

The hotel features a swimming pool, whirlpool, fitness centre, business centre, and complimentary outdoor parking. Unfortunately, the hotel does not have an airport shuttle. It does have a local shuttle that can take you to nearby restaurants, movie theatres, and shopping centres. 

Rooms come with a king or queen bed.

All rooms come with a desk, high-speed wireless internet,
and flat-screen television.

All rooms come with a microwave, fridge, and coffee maker. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Elizabeth of York

Remember the television show Queen for a Day? Everyone loved the idea of living like a queen, even if only for a day. But would they — would we? — want to become a 15th-century English queen? Maybe not so much!

Elizabeth of York, the first child of the Yorkist dynasty, was born into a life of royal perquisites and privileges. Most of her 37 years on earth were afflicted, however, by political turmoil and personal tragedies. Her moments of glory inevitably metamorphosed into months — into years — of suffering, pain, and tragedy.
Elizabeth of York

Throughout Elizabeth of York’s life, the family and home that were her physical and emotional refuge were constantly under siege. Her grandfather, three brothers, and two uncles were executed during the "wars of the cousins." Her grandmother and mother were accused as witches. Twice, she herself fled to Sanctuary. The first decade of her queenship was fraught with rebellions that threatened both her political and personal well-beingYet, she remained calm and caring and loving. Her subjects called her “the gracious queen.”

In discussing Elizabeth of York’s life, I shall focus on several defining events in her life, a life that most of us would probably prefer to observe from a distance, rather than to adopt — even if only for a day.

Arlene Okerlund, Professor Emerita of English at San José State University in California, specializes in Shakespeare and in medieval/Renaissance studies. During her 36 years at SJSU, she served as Dean of the College of Humanities and the Arts from 1980 to 1986 and as Academic Vice President from 1986 to 1993. She returned to teaching in 1994 and twice taught in SJSU’s Semester-Abroad-in-England, where she loved studying English history on site. 

Professor Okerlund took early retirement in 2001 to complete a biography of England’s first Yorkist queen. Elizabeth Wydeville: The Slandered Queen, published in 2005, is now available in paperback as Elizabeth: England’s Slandered Queen. Her biography of Elizabeth of York appeared in 2009 (paperback, 2011). During retirement, Professor Okerlund teaches Shakespeare with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and plays tenor banjo with the Peninsula Banjo Band.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Silent auction XIII

Four more books to add to the growing pile of silent auction goodies!

Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain (Tim Clayton and Phil Craig, hardcover) 
Marie Antoinette (Antonia Fraser, paperback)
The Queen's Fool (Philippa Gregory, paperback) 
The House at Riverton (Kate Morton, paperback)

(Posting by Victoria)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

François Villon -- Fifteenth-Century French Poet, Rogue, Criminal

I am delighted to announce the first of our speakers for the 2012 Richard III Society AGM: Jonathan Hayes will be speaking on the fifteenth-century poet, François Villon. This is Jonathan's introduction to his subject:

Stock woodcut image used 
to represent Villon in the 
1489 printing of the 
Grand Testament de 
Maistre François Villon 
(Image from Wikipedia). 
It would be very nice if artistic talent went with high morality. Alas, such is not necessarily the case. Richard Wagner, for example, was an anti-Semitic cad who ran off with his best patron’s wife. And those were a couple of Wagner's good qualities. Yet his Ring Cycle is one of the crowning masterpieces of Western art.

While François Villon’s poetry does not quite reach those rarified heights, still, it has a directness and vibrancy which we can appreciate today when the aestheticism of the courtly poetry of that period palls on us.

As much as Villon’s poetry, his life also attracts us. This is the seamy, back-side of fifteenth-century life; the part which frequently ended on the gibbet. My discussion will be not only an analysis of his poetry – which I love, but also an attempt to bring to life the lower strata of fifteenth-century life – the part which we frequently try to pretend didn’t exist.

Villon’s poetry has attracted many over the centuries; I will undertake to show you why. – Jonathan Hayes

We also have another speaker who I will be thrilled to announce shortly.

(Posting by Victoria)