Midlothian, VA. 804.378.2527

Lifelong Learning Chesterfield

Literature, Poetry and Film - Fall 2017                          


Lifelong Learning Institute in Chesterfield                           

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Beginner Memoir Writing                                       

Tuesday                                         EL173048           


Sept 5, 12, 26, Oct 3, 10

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 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!


The American Barbarians: How Our Literature Reflects Who We Are                                 

Wednesday                                   EL173049           


Sept 6, 13, 20, 27, Oct 4, 11, 18

Instructor(s): Vic Thompson

When Walt Whitman "sounded his barbaric yawp from the rooftops of the world," he meant “barbaric” in the positive sense of the word: not “brutal, bestial, or savage” but rather “primitive or unsophisticated.” In his poetry he celebrated the primitive, unsophisticated glory and power of ordinary Americans. In this lecture and discussion course we will see how this theme of primitivism is an important part of our literature and of our national character. We will begin with the stories of America’s first inhabitants, the Native Americans, and finish with stories and poetry of our own times. On the way we will include William Bradford, St. Jean de Crevecoeur, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Earnest Hemingway, Robinson Jeffers, and E.E. Cummings. No reading is required, but the instructor will include a list of important books in the syllabus.


Enjoy Poetry                                 

Friday                               EL173043            *$14


Sept 8, 15, 22, 29, Oct 6, 13, 20, Nov 3, 10, 17, Dec 1, 8

Instructor(s): Bob Ferguson and Timothy Pace

The course will cover American poets from the past as well as the present. We will learn more about the poets and read some of their poems. Since we will be discussing our response to the writings, class participation is encouraged. Most poems will come from either "101 Great American Poems" (Dover Thrift Edition) or "Sailing Alone around the Room" (Random House, 2002) by a contemporary poet, Billy Collins. These texts are recommended but not required. The two books can optionally be purchased as a set through LLI during Open Registration only, and payment is due at registration. Class members are also encouraged to try their hand at writing a poem to share it with the class as time permits.


Aspiring Writer's Critique                                       

Friday                               EL173015           


Sept 8, 22, Oct 6, 20, Nov 3, 17, Dec 1, 15

Instructor(s): Dorothy Moses

This course is for aspiring writers who want gentle feedback on their writing. Are you 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.


Film Appreciation                                       

Friday                               EL173016           


Sept 8, 22, Oct 13, 20, Nov 3, 17, Dec 1

Instructor(s): Helene Wagner

Helene will present this class with six carefully selected films: Out of Africa (September 8), The Quiz Show (September 22), Awakenings (October 13), Shakespeare in Love (October 20), Rain Man (November 3), The Prince of Tides (November 17), and Come Dance with Me (December 1). Background information about the films will be available at the classes. Please note that the movie on September 8 will run an extra 30 minutes and the movie on December 1 will end 30 minutes early.


Poe’s First Book: Tamerlane and Other Poems                              

Monday                                         EL173027           


Sept 11, 18, 25, Oct 2, 16

Instructor(s): Chris Semtner

Long before he wrote “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee,” Edgar Allan Poe got his start with a slim volume of lesser-known poems. Published when Poe was eighteen, Tamerlane was the young poet’s first book and has become the most valuable book in American Literature. This course will examine these often overlooked works and see how they reflect his tumultuous early life and his struggles to become the first professional poet in the United States.


Minnie and Mr. Pooh Films                                    

Monday                                         EL173022           


Sept 11, 18, 25, Oct 2, 16, 23, 30, Nov 6, 13, 20, 27, Dec 4, 11

Instructor(s): Greg Hall

Myrna Loy and William Powell made fourteen movies together: six Thin Man movies and eight others. We will watch and discuss most of them in this course: Manhattan Melodrama (1934), The Thin Man (1934), Evelyn Prentice (1934), The Great Ziegfeld (1936), Libeled Lady (1936), After the Thin Man (1936), Double Wedding (1937), Another Thin Man (1939), I Love You Again (1940), Love Crazy (1941), Shadow of the Thin Man (1941), The Thin Man Goes Home (1945), and Song of the Thin Man (1947). Schedule will be available the first day of class.


Great Books                                  

Tuesday                                         EL173014            *$20


Sept 12, 26, Oct 10, 24, Nov 14, 28, Dec 12

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

We will continue to discuss the short selections in the Great Books Foundation's Great Conversations 6. This text will also cover the Spring 2018 session. 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 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. It is our experience that these works come alive from the insights of the group.  For the fall session, the schedule will be: Sept. 12 - George Eliot, "The Lifted Veil;" Sept. 26 - Mark Twain, "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg;" Oct. 10 - Friedrich Nietzsche, "On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life;" Oct. 24 - Jane Addams, "The Devil Baby at Hull House;" Nov. 14 - H. G. Wells, "The Man Who Could Work Miracles," Nov. 28 and Dec. 12 - to be determined.


Advanced Memoir Writing                                     

Tuesday                                         EL173009           


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

Instructor(s): Harry Rast

In this class, 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!


Treasure Chest of Short Stories                            

Wednesday                                   EL173045            *$20


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

Instructor(s): Larry Braja

This class will continue to use the book, “100 Years of the Best American Short Stories." The subjects and themes in the 100 years’ collection are wide-ranging in scope. One short story will be covered in each class. New students are welcome, as all new stories will form the reading list. The book, edited by Lorrie Moore and Heidi Pitcor, can optionally be purchased through LLI during Open Registration only, and payment is due at registration.


Radio Shows and Serials: Do You Remember...?                                          

Wednesday                                   EL173050           


Sept 13, 20, 27, Oct 4, 11, 18, 25

Instructor(s): Bob Ferguson

Do you remember the "golden age" of radio shows and cliffhanger serials at the movies? If you remember some of shows from that period of 1930 to1950, you might enjoy this course. Perhaps even some "youngsters" might like this class. We will start with a couple of sessions on radio, where using your imagination was key to your enjoyment. Then we will focus on the cliffhanger serials shown each week at movie theaters. Do you remember Flash Gordon, The Green Hornet, The Shadow and others like them? Don't expect any great scripts, cool special effects, or fine acting, but do come to enjoy some laughs and fun from a simpler time.


Reading for Fun                                          

Wednesday                                   EL173001           


Sept 13, Oct 11, Nov 8, Dec 13

Instructor(s): Annebel Lewis

Bring a bag lunch and drink to enjoy during a one-hour book discussion class. The Fall 2017 book selections are as follows: September - A Good American by Alex George; October - The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith; November - The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson; and December - All over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg.


Through the Sixties on Route 66                                         

Thursday                                       EL173051           


Sept 14, 21, 28, Oct 5, 12, 19, 26, Nov 2, 9, 16

Instructor(s): Charles J. Koutnik

Most of us are multi-generational. There is no magical cut-off date that puts one in the “Me Generation” instead of the ‘Sixties Generation”. At best we are part of trends that build upon other trends. The heroic generation, which consisted of a new white American middle class that survived the Depression and fought World War II, tended to later adopt an “All-American” way of life. It was an accepting generation of patriotism, suburban living, and giving their children everything they lacked in their own youth. The longing for the assurances of suburban living in the Fifties after the Depression and the war is understandable; however, a new challenge was put forth when President Kennedy told us to, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. Many Americans decided to answer the call to do something and get involved. One example of the birth of this generation was the debut of a television series about two young men traveling the country going from job to job. Everywhere they went they became involved in the personal crises of ordinary people. The 116 episodes of the TV show Route 66 included a few poor programs, many average or slightly above average stories, and a dozen or so gems. We will watch and discuss some of these episodes, see where the road took the creators and America by 1969 and later. We all lived through it, so don't expect a straight smooth highway.


In the Way of War: Surviving in a World Turned Upside Down                               

Wednesday                                   EL173052           


Sept 20, Oct 18, Nov 15, Dec 6

Instructor(s): Pam Bachman

As we learn from history and see in the media every day, the turmoil of war has no boundaries and seemingly no end. This series of four book discussions will span two centuries, involve Europe, Britain and the U.S., and delve deeply into the way individuals and families cope with the upheaval of war. We will discuss one book each month during the session. The selected novels, all critically-acclaimed and praised by readers, include: September - "The Widow of the South" by Robert Hicks; October - "The Master Butchers' Singing Club" by Louise Erdrich; November - "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" by Jamie Ford; and December - "Crooked Heart" by Lissa Evans. We will look closely into the hearts of the characters as the authors ask questions that make us think and help us learn more about the world and ourselves.


How Fairy Tales, Myth & Folklore Can Help Your Fiction-Writing                                         

Monday                                         EL173053           


Dec 4

Instructor(s): Martha Steger

Fairy tales aren't just for kids! In fact, Grimms' fairy tales weren't even written for children to begin with! Bring examples of favorite adult novels (the recent "Seal Woman" is one of the instructor's favorites) and young-adult fantasies (such as David Baldacci's Vega Jane Series) to discuss how writers use myth, folk- and fairy tales to inform their writing even if they aren't critical plot points. After discussion, class participants will engage in fiction-writing prompts using favorite tales from folklore.


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.