Midlothian, VA. 804.378.2527

Lifelong Learning Chesterfield

Literature, Poetry and Film - Fall 2018


Lifelong Learning Institute in Chesterfield                           

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Enjoy Poetry                                     

Friday                                  EL183043             


Sept 7, 14, 21, Oct 5, 12, 19, Nov 2, 9, 16, 30, Dec 7

Instructor(s): Bob Ferguson and Timothy Pace

This course is back to share more poetry! Poems from a number of different authors, time periods, and styles will be explored. Each class will be organized around a couple of topics or themes that the different poems share. For example, nature, adventure, love of country, or friendship are examples of themes that may be chosen for the classes. Students will enjoy discussing the poems and also learn a little about each author. No book purchase required! Poetry handouts will be provided in class. For Billy Collins fans, his poems will still be shared whenever possible. There will be ample time for students to share their favorite poems, including their own work.


Film Appreciation: Let There be Music Series                                   

Friday                                  EL183016             


Sept 7, 21, Oct 5, 19, Nov 2, 16, 30, Dec 7

Instructor(s): Helene Wagner

Helene will present this class with eight carefully selected films: “Elvis” - ABC Biopic by Dick Clark Productions (Sept 7); “Coal Miner's Daughter - The Loretta Lynn Story” (Sept 21); Billy Joel PBS American Masters Documentary (Oct 5); “Sweet Dreams - The Patsy Cline Story” (Oct 19); “Saturday Night Fever” (Nov 2); Joan Baez PBS American Masters Documentary (Nov 16); “Walk the Line - The Johnny Cash Story” (Nov 30); and “Carol King - A Natural Woman” - PBS American Masters Documentary (Dec 7). Additional information about the films will be available at the first class. Please note the PBS American Masters selections will be shorter than the full length films. See schedule for details.


Poe's Last Poems                                            

Monday                                              EL183027             


Sept 10, 17, 24

Instructor(s): Chris Semtner

In the last year of his life, Edgar Allan Poe composed some of his greatest poems, including “Eldorado,” “A Dream within a Dream,” and “Annabel Lee.” During the same period, he was engaged twice, fell in love with a married woman, spent time in a number of cities from Massachusetts to Virginia, embarked on a successful lecture tour, prepared to start his own literary magazine, and still found time to write some of his most popular works. This course will examine Poe’s final poems, demonstrating how they reflect his life and times during the tumultuous period that ended with his mysterious death.


Sherlock Holmes Films                                

Monday                                              EL183022             


Sept 10, 17, 24, Oct 1, 15, 22, 29, Nov 5, 19, 26, Dec 3, 10

Instructor(s): Greg Hall

Many actors have donned the deerstalker cap and the inverness cloak to portray the Super Sleuth, but in the instructor’s humble opinion, no one has surpassed Jeremy Brett. This session, students will view and discuss several of Conan Doyle's best stories with Brett playing the world's greatest consulting detective. The game’s afoot! The expected viewing schedule is as follows: Sept 10: A Scandal in Bohemia and The Dancing Men; Sept 17: The Naval Treaty and The Solitary Cyclist; Sept 24: The Crooked Man and The Speckled Man; Oct 1: The Blue Carbuncle and The Copper Beeches; Oct 15: The Greek Interpreter and The Norwood Builder; Oct 22: The Resident Patient and The Red-Headed League; Oct 29: The Final Problem and The Empty House; Nov 5: The Abbey Grange and The Musgrave Ritual; Nov 19: The Second Stain and The Man With The Twisted Lip; Nov 26: The Priory School and The Six Napoleons; Dec 3: The Devil's Foot and Silver Blaze; and Dec 10: Wisteria Lodge and The Bruce-Partington Plans.


From Silent Films to Talkies                                       

Tuesday                                              EL183064             


Sept 11, 18, 25, Oct 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Instructor(s): Bob Ferguson

This course will examine the humble origins of comedy, drama, horror, and science fiction motion pictures. Silent films may seem simple by today's standards, but they were revolutionary in their time and set the stage for the techniques used in films today. Students will enjoy a blend of a little history with some fun as many short film clips will be examined, usually to include commentary on why a film was important. Full movies will not be viewed, but the most interesting scenes will help students learn more about each movie. The transition to talkies will also be explored with some scenes shown as examples.


Great Books                                      

Tuesday                                              EL183014              *$20


Sept 11, 25, Oct 9, 23, Nov 13, 27, Dec 4

Instructor(s): Wade Curry, Sara Unetic and Lorraine Nichol

This course will continue the discussion of the short works or selections in “Great Conversations 2,” published by the Great Books Foundation. The books, which are strongly suggested, are optionally available for purchase through the LLI Office during Open Registration only, and payment is due at time of registration. Alternatively, the books may be ordered directly from the Great Books Foundation or from other book retailers. Students have found that reading followed by discussion is almost always a richer experience than reading alone. The expected reading schedule is as follows: Sept 11: Poe, "The Fall of the House of Usher"; Sept 25: Melville, "Bartleby the Scrivener"; Oct 9: Rosetti, "Goblin Market"; Oct 23: Planck, "Physics and World Philosophy"; Nov 13: Synge, "The Playboy of the Western World"; Nov 27 and Dec 4: To Be Determined.


A Study of Nite's Passage: An American Odyssey from Appomattox to Lake Erie                                              

Thursday                                            EL183063              *$10


Sept 13, 20, 27, Oct 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov 1, 8, 15, 29, Dec 6, 13

Instructor(s): Charles J. Koutnik

This course will provide a thorough study of the author and instructor’s recently published historical fiction book, “Nite’s Passage.” Beginning with the historically soaked terrain of Civil War Appomattox, this book traces the journey of a young soldier who matures through his struggles in coming to terms with pervasive prejudice and bigotry. The instructor will use film, literature, and a panel discussion to help students understand the themes of the book. The background of the events and people of this historical novel ranging from Virginia to Ohio in the years 1851-1920 will also be discussed. Purchase of the book through LLI is optional, and payment is due at registration.


Something Must Be Done about Prince Edward County A                                              

Thursday                                            EL183067              *$16


Sept 13

Instructor(s): Larry Braja

Please register for only one session (A or B) to allow all students a chance to participate. This course will provide an interactive discussion based on Kristen Green’s memoir of growing up in Prince Edward County, Virginia: “Something Must Be Done about Prince Edward County”. Not until she was an adult did she find out her grandfather played a major role in the closing of the county’s public schools and establishment of a Christian academy that admitted only white students after the momentous Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. The book can optionally be purchased through LLI during Open Registration only, and payment is due at registration.


Connecting With Books: A Book Discussion Group                                          

Wednesday                                      EL183052             


Sept 19, Oct 17, Nov 14, Dec 19

Instructor(s): Pam Bachman

This course has so far attracted many devoted readers who enjoy keeping their minds open to new ideas and their hearts in tune with pure enjoyment. The selections for this session will include: "A Thousand Acres" by beloved, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Jane Smiley - (A 20th-century Iowa farmer divides his land among his three grown daughters, and a family clamor worthy of Shakespeare ensues); "Glass Houses" by Louise Penny - (Preparations for a Halloween party in the tiny Canadian village of Three Pines are haunted by a hooded being who never moves or speaks, until Chief Superintendent Gamache has another crime to solve and learns what it means to be tried in the "court of conscience;") "The Sojourn" an award-winning first novel by Andrew Krivak - (In a novel appropriate for this year's WWI commemorations, a young man tending sheep in the mountains of Eastern Europe leaves home to fight in the Great War, starting him on an emotional and redemptive journey readers won't easily forget;) "Jayber Crow" by Wendell Berry - (The fictional town of Port William, created by Berry, appears in a series of his poetic and beautifully-written novels about human character and relationships. In one of these, Jayber Crow, orphaned since age 10, comes to Port William and becomes its barber - telling us gently and truthfully what he learns over a lifetime about the town's inhabitants and about himself). Please register for this course to share your thoughts and opinions.


Aspiring Writer's Critique                                          

Friday                                  EL183015             


Sept 21, Oct 5, 19, Nov 2, 16, 30, Dec 14

Instructor(s): Dorothy Moses

This course is for aspiring writers who want gentle feedback on their writing. Are you working on your memoirs, a short story, novel or screenplay? Bring in a few pages each time we meet and get feedback from the group while giving your own comments on others’ work. Learn to be a better writer through giving and receiving constructive feedback.


The Lost (and Found) Stories of Dr. Seuss: Logical Insanity                                          

Tuesday                                              EL183062             


Sept 25, Oct 2, 9, 23, 30, Nov 13

Instructor(s): Les Schaffer

We all love the idea of buried treasure! We've uncovered lost cities, sunken ships, dinosaurs and ancient artworks. Now, in the case of Ted Geisel, best known as Dr. Seuss, our dreams have come true! In this course, students will discover the lost treasures of a trove of largely forgotten Dr. Seuss stories. Beginning with “The Bippolo Seed,” Dr. Seuss stories that few even knew existed will be shared. Along the way, some of the lesser known byways of Seuss's life and work will be visited. As in the previous Dr. Seuss course, students will have an opportunity to examine the good Doctor's influence in their own lives and to try creating their own Seussian verses, art and stories. The instructor’s hope is that students will find these tales as fascinating as he does and that they will be like finding the silver box that contains a Bippolo seed: "Who finds this rare box will be lucky, indeed, For inside this box is a Bippolo Seed! Plant it and wish! And then count up to three! Whatever you wish for, whatever it be…will sprout and grow out of a Bippolo Tree!"


American Humor from Vaudeville to Theatre of the Absurd                                      

Wednesday                                      EL183049             


Sept 26, Oct 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Nov 7, 14, 28, Dec 5, 12, 19

Instructor(s): Vic Thompson

In order to live peacefully and harmoniously in a civilized society, people cannot always say what they actually believe or feel. However, humorists have always been given some license to go beyond the bounds of normal civilized behavior. American humorists have been breaking the rules since at least the backwoodsmen of the nineteenth century, but can humor go too far? Is anything still sacred? In this course, lectures and discussions will explore how the boundaries have changed from the early days of vaudeville to the absurdist drama of our times. Radio and TV comedy will be included as well as fiction and the movies. Most classes will present video and audio clips as well as parts of movies. No reading is required.


Something Must Be Done about Prince Edward County B                                              

Friday                                  EL183068              *$16


Sept 28

Instructor(s): Larry Braja

Please register for only one session (A or B) to allow all students a chance to participate. This course will provide an interactive discussion based on Kristen Green’s memoir of growing up in Prince Edward County, Virginia: “Something Must Be Done about Prince Edward County”. Not until she was an adult did she find out her grandfather played a major role in the closing of the county’s public schools and establishment of a Christian academy that admitted only white students after the momentous Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. The book can optionally be purchased through LLI during Open Registration only, and payment is due at registration.


Ragtime, the Novel                                       

Monday                                              EL183065              *$13


Oct 1, 15

Instructor(s): Larry Braja

This course encourages students to imagine living in the first twenty years of the Twentieth Century by being immersed in the novel Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow. Ragtime is on the Modern Library List of best novels of the 20th Century as well as Time magazine’s list of best English novels from 1923-2005. Doctorow does a marvelous job inserting real people into his historical novel, such as Houdini, Booker T. Washington and Evelyn Nesbit, a Gibson Girl. Students will have an opportunity to listen to ragtime music, too! The book can optionally be purchased through LLI during Open Registration only, and payment is due at registration.


Beginner Memoir Writing                                          

Tuesday                                              EL183048             


Oct 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Nov 13, 20, 27, Dec 4, 11

Instructor(s): Suzanne Kelly and Harry Rast

Webster's Dictionary defines a memoir as "a narrative composed from personal experience." In this course, new students will start writing and organizing their memories and experiences in five sections, so they will have a brief memoir covering the early stages of their lives. Everyone is encouraged to share their writing each week. Many times a shared memory from one student brings a long-forgotten memory back to another. Everyone has a story. Come and share yours!


Creative Writing Workshop                                       

Tuesday                                              EL183060             


Oct 2, 9, 16

Instructor(s): Patricia Ryther

This course will cover the following three topics: 1) Beginnings and Endings: How does your story (and each chapter of the story) begin and end? What keeps the reader’s interest?; 2) Showing and Telling: This is a popular topic right now, with lots of debate on the right way to present your material. Which method will you use, and when?; and 3) Choosing Your Narrator and Point of View: Who’s talking to the reader? Are they reliable, knowledgeable, or unaware of what’s going on? Sometimes the reader knows more than the story’s narrator. Some narrators are right in the middle of the story, while others are distant figures. What works for your story? Students will create a few short paragraphs in class, and volunteers can read them aloud.


Advanced Memoir Writing                                        

Tuesday                                              EL183009             


Oct 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Nov 13, 20, 27, Dec 4, 11

Instructor(s): Suzanne Kelly and Harry Rast

In this course, students will continue writing their memories and experiences that they started in previous classes. They will share their writings each class. Many times a shared memory from one student brings back a long-forgotten memory to another student. Hopefully, students will just have fun writing and sharing. Everyone has a story. Continue to come and share yours!


Early TV Flashback: Howdy Doody, Fondly Remembered?                                          

Wednesday                                      EL183066             


Oct 24, 31

Instructor(s): Al Meyer

What a wonder! It's 1948. Radio with pictures! WOW! Looking Back, Americans were fed "Howdy Doody." This course will take a look at Howdy Doody clips as well as film clips from early kids TV shows to answer the question: Was this education or entertainment?  The songs and characters are indeed memorable. How is this time remembered? Was the first the best, or did this lead to something better? Students should come ready to laugh and share!


About Fees
Your Lifelong Learning Institute membership gives you access to all of LLI classes and trips, most without any additional costs. There are some classes and trips which require additional fees. Where there are additional fees, those fees must be paid at the time of registration. Fees can be paid by check, cash or credit card. If paying by check, please clearly indicate the classes and trips being covered.