Midlothian, VA. 804.378.2527

Lifelong Learning Chesterfield

Literature, Poetry and Film - Summer 2017                          


Lifelong Learning Institute in Chesterfield                           

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Collecting Poe                                 

Monday                                              EL172027             


May 1, 8, 15, 22

Instructor(s): Chris Semtner

How did the Poe Museum acquire the world’s largest collection of Poe artifacts and memorabilia? It has been a ninety-five-year process of encountering fakes, forgeries, and forgotten history in an attempt to distinguish the authentic from the fake and the fact from the fiction. This course will follow the museum’s ongoing research and acquisition of manuscripts, first editions, furniture, clothing, and other memorabilia with a focus on the stories each of these objects has to tell us about Poe’s life and literature.


Bette Davis Films: Chewing Up the Scenery with Bette Davis                                    

Monday                                              EL172022             


May 1, 8, 15, 22, June 5, 12, 19, 26, July 10, 17, 24, 31, August 7, 14, 21, 28

Instructor(s): Greg Hall

Students in this course will be viewing and discussing 16 of Bette's best films: Of Human Bondage, Dangerous, The Petrified Forest, Jezebel, Dark Victory, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The Letter, The Bride Came C.O.D., The Little Foxes, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Now Voyager, Mr. Skeffington, All About Eve, Pocketful of Miracles, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, The Whales of August. Schedule will be available the first day of class.


Aspiring Writers Critique                                            

Friday                                  EL172015             


May 5, 19, June 2, 16, 30, July 14, 28, August 11, 25

Instructor(s): Dorothy Moses

For aspiring writers who want gentle feedback on their writing. Working on memoirs, a short story, your first novel or a screenplay? Bring in a few pages each time you meet and get feedback from the group while giving your own comments on other's work. Learn to be a better writer through giving and receiving constructive feedback.


PBS Series: The Durrells in Corfu                                             

Friday                                  EL172046             


May 5, 19, 26

Instructor(s): Helene Wagner

This absolutely charming six-week series, The Durrells in Corfu, is set in 1935 when the Englishwoman Louisa Durrell's life had fallen apart, when her husband died and left her in financial problems with four children. She suddenly announced to the children they would move from Bournemouth to the Greek island of Corfu. A family battle ensues as they adapt to life on the island, especially when they discover that Corfu does not even have electricity. But it is cheap, an earthly paradise and the Durrell family make the big step that will change their lives forever. This series is based on the autobiographical novel by Gerald Durrell, a world renowned naturalist, explorer, writer and conservationist. His mother was rather eccentric and allowed Gerald at the age of eight years old to keep wildlife as pets - in the house. He also managed to make lifelong friends among the local Corfu humans, too. Two episodes will be shown during each class.


Great Books                                      

Tuesday                                              EL172014              *$20


May 9, 23, June 13, 27, July 11, 25, August 8

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

We will discuss the short selections in the Great Books Foundation's Great Conversations 6. This selection will cover three sessions all in one text. 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, students may attempt to acquire the book on their own from or acquire each selection via an e-book, audiobook, or from a library. The Foundation argues that discussion yields greater insight than reading by itself and has selected works that are both provocative and wise. For the summer session, the schedule will be: May 9 – Seneca, On Tranquility of Mind; May 23 – Bacon, The New Organum; June 13 – Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration; June 27 – Reynold, Discourse Seven; July 11 – Fitzgerald, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam; July 25 – Austin, Emma I; and August 8 - Emma II.


Writing Your Memoirs                                 

Tuesday                                              EL172009             


May 9, 16, 23, 30, June 6, 13, 20, 27, July 11, 18, 25

Instructor(s): Harry Rast

Webster’s Dictionary defines a memoir as “a narrative composed from personal experience.” In this class, new students will start writing and organizing their memories and experiences in ten sections so that they will have a brief memoir covering the different stages of their lives. Others will continue their journey through their life story that they started in previous classes. Everyone will share (If they wish) their writings weekly with the class to help each other make all these memoirs interesting for future generations. Many times a shared memory from one student brings a long forgotten memory back to another. Hopefully, students will just have fun writing and sharing. Everyone has a story. Come and share yours.


Reading for Fun                                               

Wednesday                                      EL172001             


May 10, June 14, July 12, August 9

Instructor(s): Annebel Lewis

Bring a bag lunch and drink to enjoy during a one-hour book discussion class. The Summer 2017 book selections are as follows: May - Dark Enough Sky to See the Stars in a Jamestown Sky by Connie Lapallo; June - Wish You Well by David Balducci; July - My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante; and August - Truevine by Beth Macy.


New Words from Old Mouths: The First Annual LLI Senior Story Slam                                   

Thursday                                            EL172044             


May 18

Instructor(s): Les Schaffer

What is a story slam? Based on the poetry slam format and similar to popular radio shows like NPR's "The Moth" or "This American Life", a story slam is a festival for the spoken word. LLI story-slammers can register to sign up to tell a short story on the day's theme. Stories may be as short as four to five minutes, but no longer than eight minutes. Up to seven story-slammers will be selected from those registered for the starting line-up. At the live show on June 8, as time permits, procrastinators or late starters may put their names in a hat to be selected to tell. The theme for our first Slam is “My Brush with Fame”. Slammers may broadly define this topic in any way. The only rules are that it must be real, must be told and not read. No notes, paper or cheat sheets allowed during the live performance. The audience will be expecting real life adventures. The best stories have a beginning, middle and end. They have a point and should be clear about why it's important for you to tell. This course is presented in two parts. We'll start with a two-hour informational and coaching session for prospective slammers on May 18. This mini-workshop (EL172044) will help you develop, hone and practice your story in a safe, fun and informative environment. Then, you'll have an opportunity to tell your story to a friendly, live audience of fellow LLI'ers on June 8 (SE172110). Register for the workshop to participate or for the special event to be in the audience!


Film Appreciation                                          

Friday                                  EL172016             


June 2, 16, 30, July 7, 14, 28

Instructor(s): Helene Wagner

Helene will present this class with six carefully selected films: Cold Mountain (June 2), Frost Nixon (June 16), The Cider House Rules (June 30), The Queen (July 7), The King's Speech (July 14), and Kate & Leopold (July 28). Background information about the films will be available at the classes. Please note that the movie on June 2 will run an extra 30 minutes.


Poe’s Last Book: Eureka                                               

Monday                                              EL172028             


June 5, 12, 19, 26

Instructor(s): Chris Semtner

Pioneering work of modern cosmology or the ranting of a madman? Published a year before his death, Poe’s last book features his unified theory of everything. The essay alternates from parody to mathematical computation in such a way that literary scholars have been baffled by it while cosmologists have found it fascinating. This course will unravel some of the mysteries of the book Poe considered his most important work.


Treasure Chest of Short Stories                                

Wednesday                                      EL172045              *$17


June 7, 14, 21, 28, July 5, 12, 19, 26, August 2, 9, 16, 23

Instructor(s): Larry Braja

This class will be using the best of the best American short stories. The earliest story is from 1917 and the latest from 2015. Some authors will surely be known to students; while others, probably not. So, there will be a rich tapestry of reading to enjoy. We will usually discuss one, but not more than two stories per class. Let your imagination be carried away as on a spring/summer breeze by participating in this class. If there is sufficient interest, the class will be continued in the fall using the same book. The book, “100 Years of the Best American Short Stories” edited by Lorrie Moore and Heidi Pitcor, can optionally be purchased through LLI during Open Registration only, and payment is due at registration.


How Do Kids Learn about Aging? The Role of Kids' First Literature                                          

Thursday                                            EL172047             


August 3, 10, 17

Instructor(s): Edward F. Ansello, PhD

There's been evidence for decades that young children have mixed attitudes about aging and older adults, even when they have very positive attitudes about their grandparents and great grandparents. Why is this? How do kids form attitudes early in life about what older adults do and know? In three sessions we will explore these questions and examine the role of media socialization, that is, learning indirectly about aging rather than through direct contact with older adults. We'll read and examine children's first literature (grades K-2) for answers.


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.