During 2020 many of our planned events were cancelled due to Covid-19 and the subsequent directives issued by the Department of Health. The directives prevented venues from opening or severely restricted patron numbers.
ESU (Qld) was able to hold a 1 November 2020 cocktail evening, where 3 speakers presented on the topic, “Which English writer has had the greatest impact and why?” (For the purposes of this discussion, Shakespeare had been excluded as a possible nominee.)
The event held at the Clovely Estate City Cellar Door was hosted by the ESU (Queensland) President, Professor Roly Sussex OAM.
A panel of three speakers spoke for 10 minutes, arguing their case for their chosen writer.
Caroline Hatcher proposed Charles Dickens.
Caroline argued that Charles Dickens, even by today’s standards, is a significant ‘influencer’. This can be measured today by the many films and remakes of his wondrous range of stories and characters. In his time, each chapter of every book was serialised in newspapers and
delivered across the world to adoring, awaiting audiences. His characters and stories,
both of evil and good, allowed him to make social commentary while simultaneously
delighting his readers. His characters still today act as metaphors for evil or good.
Call someone Mr Scrooge today and you have delivered a telling blow!
John Thompson-Gray proposed Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce.
Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce was an American philosopher, logician, mathematician, and
scientist who is sometimes known as ‘the father of pragmatism’. In fact, when speaking of Peirce, Bertrand Russell wrote that ‘Beyond doubt […] he was one of the most original minds of the later nineteenth century and certainly the greatest American thinker ever’. John will outline the enormous impact and influence that Peirce had in a myriad of fields.
Professor Roly Sussex OAM speaking on William Tyndale (c1494-1536)
William Tyndale was an English scholar, author and especially Bible translator. At a time when owning an English-language Bible could be punished by imprisonment or even death, let alone translating the Bible, Tyndale was a man with a mission: to bring the message of the Bible to the people in their own language. But this meant circumventing the Church and its monopoly on access to the Scriptures through Latin, and access to confession, absolution and ultimately eternal life. Tyndale had to leave England and live in Europe, where he laboured with astonishing energy on his translation of the New Testament and major parts of the Old Testament. He was the first Bible translator into English who knew not only Latin but also Greek and Hebrew, and who was able to work from the originals. He was betrayed and executed in 1536. But he had the last laugh: around 80% of the New Testament, and over 70% of the Old Testament, were adopted for the King James Bible in 1611. And he gave the English language a dignity in expression based on simple, Germanic roots, together with phrases like “the apple of his eye”, “scapegoat”, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”, and many more.
Listen to the speeches.
Professor Roly Sussex OAM opening remarks.
Caroline Hatcher speaking on Charles dickens
John Thompson-Gray speaking on Charles Santiago Sanders Peirce.
Professor Roly Sussex OAM speaking on William Tyndale