Midlothian, VA. 804.378.2527

Lifelong Learning Chesterfield

Literature, Poetry and Film - Spring 2017                          


Lifelong Learning Institute in Chesterfield                           

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Poe’s Dark Women                                        

Monday                                              EL171027             


Jan 2, 9, 30

Instructor(s): Chris Semtner

Edgar Allan Poe wrote a series of very different tales about strong female characters with mysterious powers. Morella, Eleonora, Ligeia, and Madeline Usher love, inspire, and terrify the men in their lives. This class will examine the ways their stories reflect Poe’s love life and the changing roles of women in the nineteenth century.


The Films of Preston Sturges                                     

Monday                                              EL171022             


Jan 2, 9, 23, 30, Feb 6, 13, 27, March 6, 13, 20, 27, April 3, 17, 24

Instructor(s): Greg Hall

In the 1930s Preston Sturges was the most successful film writer in Hollywood. In the 40s he became its greatest satirical writer. Students in this course will examine and discuss 14 of his funniest movies. 1/2 - The Good Fairy (1935), 1/9 - Easy Living (1937), 1/23 - If I Were King (1938), 1/30 - Remember the Night (1940), 2/6 - The Great McGinty (1940), 2/13 - Christmas in July (1940), 2/27 - Sullivan's Travels (1941), 3/6 - The Lady Eve (1941), 3/13 - The Palm Beach Story (1942), 3/20 - The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944), 3/27 - Hail the Conquering Hero (1944), 4/3 - The Sins of Harold Diddlebock (1947), 4/17 - Unfaithfully Yours (1948), 4/24 - The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend (1949).


Explore Poetry                                 

Friday                                  EL171043             


Jan 6, 13, 20, 27, Feb 3, 10, 17, 24, March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

Instructor(s): Bob Ferguson and Timothy Pace

This course offers a chance to encounter a wide range of poets and their poems. The main resource will be a collection of poems assembled by John Lithgow. The book is called "The Poets Corner, the one and only poetry book for the whole family". We will also read and discuss poems that class members love and even some that you have written yourself. Our goal is to increase our enjoyment of the many types of poetry and our familiarity with this area of literature. All are welcome! This is a class for sharing and growing an interest in poetry. The optional "Poets Corner" book (2007) is now out of print. Either new or used copies can be located on Amazon or related book purchasing sites, but it is not available for purchase through the LLI Office.


PBS Mystery Series: Rosemary & Thyme                                             

Friday                                  EL171038             


Jan 6, 13, 20, Feb 3, 10, 17, March 3, 10, 17, April 7, 21

Instructor(s): Helene Wagner

Rosemary & Thyme is a cozy PBS mystery series set in beautiful English and European gardens.  Meet cheeky Laura Thyme and Rosemary Boxer, two women who come together in the midst of life-changing crises. Brought together by a sudden death, they discover their shared love of the soil and natural inquisitiveness. Forced to reassess their lives, they hope their new-found friendship will lead to gardening commissions (not more detective work). Being gardeners means that they overhear secrets and dig up clues which lead them to handle floral problems, solve crimes and capture criminals.


Great Books                                      

Tuesday                                              EL171014              *$25


Jan 10, 24, Feb 14, 28, March 14

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

This course completes the discussion of the short works in "Great Conversations 4," selections chosen by the Great Books Foundation for their provocative insight and exploration of human choices. The Great Books Foundation holds that discussion yields greater insight than reading alone; we learn from each other. The books are optionally available for purchase through the LLI Office during open registration only, and payment is due at time of registration. This session's schedule is: Jan 10 - Jackson, The Lottery; Jan 24 - Mueller, Poems; Feb 14 - Lispector, The Smallest Woman in the World; Feb 28 - Boland, Lava Cameo; Mar 14 - O'Brien, The Things They Carried.


The Sorrow of War: a Book Discussion                                  

Wednesday                                      EL171040              *$13


Jan 11, 18, 25, Feb 1, 8, 15, 22, March 1

Instructor(s): Larry Braja

The Sorrow of War, a novel by Bao Ninh, will be the basis for a facilitated book discussion. Ninh was a North Vietnamese soldier during the Vietnam War and one of only ten soldiers alive at the end of the war from a brigade that began with 500 soldiers. In this book discussion you will be invited to explore such questions as: What was the war and post-war experience like for a North Vietnamese soldier? Was that experience the same or different from a U.S soldier’s perspective? What's the significance for us when we look at other people as alien from us? The book can optionally be purchased through LLI during Open Registration only, and payment is due at registration.


Reading for Fun                                               

Wednesday                                      EL171001             


Jan 11, Feb 8, March 8, April 19

Instructor(s): Annebel Lewis

Bring a bag lunch and drink to enjoy a one-hour book discussion class. The January selection is Dimestore by Lee Smith. The remaining book selections will be announced at the January class.


Aspiring Writers Critique                                            

Friday                                  EL171015             


Jan 13, 27, Feb 10, 24, March 10, 24, April 7, 21

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.


Writing Your Memoirs                                 

Tuesday                                              EL171009             


Jan 17, 24, 31, Feb 7, 14, 21, 28, March 7, 14, 21, 28

Instructor(s): Harry Rast

Webster’s Dictionary defines a memoir as “a narrative composed from personal experience.” In this class, 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. Everyone will share (if they wish) their writings 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. Yes, there will be (optional) weekly homework.


Film Appreciation                                          

Friday                                  EL171016             


Jan 27, Feb 24, March 31, April 28

Instructor(s): Helene Wagner

Helene will present this class with four carefully selected films: Good Night and Good Luck (Jan 27), Just Like Heaven (Feb 24), The Age of Innocence (March 31), and The Remains of the Day (April 28). Background information about the films will be available at the classes.


Writing Civil War Fiction                                             

Thursday                                            EL171042             


March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Instructor(s): Dr. Victor H. Thompson

This is a lecture and discussion course about how famous, and not so famous, writers used the facts of Civil War history to create works of fiction. The course will begin with writers like Ambrose Bierce, who were in the war, and continue to the present day with modern writers, like your humble professor, who is not quite old enough to have been in it. The course will focus primarily on short works of fiction and poetry and include only a few novels, including one by the professor. The course will cover methods of researching the history and converting it into fiction but will not require students to write something, only encourage them to do so.


The Fog of War: a Film Discussion                                           

Friday                                  EL171041             


March 10, 17

Instructor(s): Larry Braja

The Fog of War is an academy award winning documentary film, based on interviews with Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense during much of the Vietnam War. McNamara reflects on the lessons he learned from his experiences which he believes are applicable to the future. Watching the film and discussing it will better prepare us to examine and evaluate the arguments our leaders provide us the next time they ask our support for going to war. The film will be shown in the first class and be discussed in the second class.


Poe’s Only Novel: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym                                               

Monday                                              EL171028             


April 3, 17, 24

Instructor(s): Chris Semtner

Although Edgar Allan Poe completed only one novel, this strange work influenced such diverse writers as Jules Verne and H.P. Lovecraft. Part hoax, part adventure, part science fiction, and definitely strange, this novel has provoked outrage from some while being hailed by others. This class will place Poe’s novel in a historical context and examine what it tells us about Poe and the issues of exploration and colonization in his time.


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.