The Indianapolis Literary Club

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David G. Vanderstel, Secretary
9131 S. Greenridge Lane
Bloomington, Indiana 47401

25 March 2017


The next meeting of the Indianapolis Literary Club will be Monday 3 April 2017 at 8:00 p.m. in Clowes Commons of Park Tudor School. The essayist for the evening will be honorary Club member James Alexander Thom who will read, "A Word from the Unborn."

What wondrous thrill and subtle spell
Comes from this wondrous woven band
That binds a mother to her unborn child
Within her womb.
American poet and writer Julia Neely Finch (1850-1926), "The Unborn"

The Secretary wishes to thank Assistant Secretary John "Jack" Cooney who substituted for the Secretary due to a last minute family obligation. Thus, the report from the Assistant Secretary follows:

"President Steve Towne handled Monday's meeting with grace, aplomb, and no little mastery, as surely befits one who has read a paper for us on Henry James visiting the city. He greeted the arriving Assistant Secretary with the unsettling word of the hospital emergency that overtook our essayist. On learning that the Assistant Secretary's contingency paper was not here on hand, the President was ready with a neat solution. He would read for us a paper presented in 1910, an essay entitled "Defense of the Dilettante" offered by George Chambers Calvert, which the president uncovered during his research for the club's pending 140th anniversary.
President Towne called the club to formal status and announced that scheduled essayist William Woods had been hospitalized, and the Club's concern for him. He offered the alternative plan of reading Mr. Calvert's essay, and the members received this agreeably. The Club also learned of another immediate emergency when member David Kriplen rose to tell all of the sudden death this past weekend of Rowland Parsons, a member since 2000."

The Club then voted to accept the nomination of Thomas Hiatt, a financial consultant and current chair of the Indianapolis Museum of Art's Board of Governors. His nomination was sponsored by James Lingenfelter, Stephen Towne, and Eugene Lausch. Welcome!!

The Assistant Secretary then presented another nomination before the Club:

Richard C. Turner is a retired professor of English and Philanthropic Studies at IUPUI. He received his B.A. from Boston College and his Ph.D. from Emory University. His nomination is sponsored by Eugene Lausch, Giles Hoyt, and Stephen Towne. The Club will speak to the nomination and vote at the next meeting.

The Assistant Secretary continues his report on the meeting:

"President Towne then read ‘Defense of the Dilettante' and we perceived immediately the more formal style of Mr. Calvert's writing and the explicit and sturdy scaffold of his argument. He defended the dilettante on two fronts. First he advanced arguments to counter the distain of the serious men of business who took the dilettante as a dabbler. Then he took up and countered the arguments offered by professional artists who criticized the dilettante for trespass in the temple of art, seemingly unbidden by the muse. Even after 107 years Mr. Calvert offered us much matter for deep reflection on the topic....We listened with attention---the argument was in places dense---but overall, we heard a serious and inspired appreciation of souls perhaps today even more rare than ever before. The President read about half of the essay before offering us the closing paragraphs, which put us in a mood of satisfied understanding even as the formal writing and careful structure of all Mr. Calvert said, would reward a closer reading of his paper. And this we might yet do by grace of it being finely printed by the Grabhorn Press in 1919. An extended discussion followed."

The Secretary reminds the members of the official call for essays for the 2017-2018 Club year. Proposals for essays may now be submitted. If you wish to read for the next Club year, please send an email or note to the Secretary with a proposed title (tradition calls for something that is properly obscure and vague) and preferred month(s) for the presentation by 1 June. The schedule will be generated thereafter and essayists will then be notified of their dates of presentations.

Reservations for the 5th Tri-Lit Club dinner on Wednesday 19 April are due soon. Contact Treasurer Dick Wiehe to reserve your spot. Also, remember to mark your calendars for the Annual and Inaugural Dinner Meeting of the Club, which will be held on Wednesday 10 May at Woodstock Club. Watch for details later in April.

Another Club year has passed by quickly. Three meetings remain before we say farewell to another Club year. Make sure that you attend the next meeting on Monday 3 April at 8:00 p.m. in Clowes Commons of Park Tudor School when essayist James Alexander Thom will read "A Word from the Unborn." What does the essayist have in mind? You will need to attend the meeting to determine the essayist's intent. Hope to see you there!

What do you ask your God for, at the end of the day,
Kneeling beside your bed with bowed and hopeless head?
What mercy can He give you? - Dreams of the unborn
Children that haunt your soul like loving words unsaid---
Dreams, as a song half-heard through sleep in early morn?
English poet Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967), "To a Childless Woman"

The Secretary
David G. Vanderstel, Ph.D.
9131 S. Greenridge Lane
Bloomington, Indiana 47401