The Pale Parabolites

18 Aug
The Pale Parabolites

The P.G. Wodehouse Society of Canada

The vital years of the English humourist P.G. Wodehouse, Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, are 1881 and 1975. He lived in many countries, but never in Canada, though at one time he considered the wisdom of moving here, as he admitted in correspondence with a friend: “I always find a great charm in Canada and sometimes toy with the idea of settling there.” Thus he wrote in 1949 following a convivial conversation with Stephen Leacock conducted in Montreal. Wodehouse described his own fiction as “light writing.” It has always been popular in Canada and indeed there even existed a loose association of his Canadian readership while the author lived and breathed. On 15 October 2012 – the 131st anniversary of the author’s birth – the association took on new life under the auspices of George A. Vanderburgh, M.D., Major (ret.), Canadian Armed Forces, resident of Lake Eugenia, Ontario. It reaffirmed the appropriateness of the name “The Pale Parabolites” which, as every member of the association is pleased to recall, is derived from the opening line of a poem from the collection Songs of Squalor attributed to Ralston McTodd, “Singer of Saskatoon,” a visitor to Blandings Castle. This occurs in the pages of Wodehouse’s comic novel, Leave It to Psmith (1923), where the poet is described in the following fashion: “A sullen, gloomy man with long, disorderly hair, he is a cigar-lover who likes to be the centre of attention, and to impress people with his epigrams.” Epigrams to one side, here is the poem’s opening line: “Across the pale parabola of joy….” Any Canadian connoisseur of the “light writing” of this master stylist, who registers as a member of the association, may thereupon refer to himself or herself as “a Pale Parabolite.” Each and every member may bear the association’s insignia, and purchase a lapel pin ($10.00 plus shipping), which depicts upon a field of pale blue (to represent the Prairie sky) a white parabola or arch (to suggest simplicity or innocence) which is adorned with a ruddy maple leaf (to symbolize the Dominion of Canada). The three words “The Pale Parabolites” appear in the typeface known as Copperplate, with its suggestion of tradition and gravitas. These emblematic details are drawn to the attention of past, present, and future members by the designer and typographer Bill Andersen. Please send along your e-mail and other contact information to receive irregular notices of meetings, which will be luncheon meetings at Massey College at The University of Toronto, 2 Devonshire Place. While there is a charge for the lapel pin, and that purchase is entirely optional, there are no fees for membership, since all communication will be in cyberspace. Join the PP Facebook Group page. Please contact: — George Vanderburgh, Chief Apogee P.O. Box 50, R.R. #4, Eugenia, Ontario, Canada N0C 1E0


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