Three Score and Ten Plus: Readings of Lives at Seventy 


Course Description

The pandemic that hit in 2020 made many of us feel that, contrary to certain claims, 70 isn’t the new 50, but, rather, 70 is the new 70. Those hoping to be effective “olders” have to accept being vulnerable too. But 2020 was also the year a man in his late 70s became the oldest ever president of the United States and did so while showing his age. Such clarifying ambiguity has made some of the debates about the pros and cons of aging that proliferated BC (before COVID-19) less resonant.

Perhaps what we need now are not new logical paradigms but what Lynn Segal (Out of Time: The Pleasures and Perils of Ageing) calls “alternative stories about ageing.” Each of the three very different fictional works to be studied in this course draws on hybrid genres: memoir and literary analysis (An Odyssey), the short story cycle (Olive Again), and what might be called rural drama or shocking fairy tale (And the Birds Rained Down). In this course, we will ask: How does literature shed light on intergenerational misunderstandings, painful acknowledgements of past failures, and possibly new ways of caring? How do recovered myths help to validate contemporary journeys? Can growing older allow for changing or completing the narrative of one’s life? What alternatives to the claims for “family first” might added years allow? Are there memorable artistic inventions in these texts that reinforce the power of stories?

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning):

    • TBA

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 14 students.

NEW PAYMENT POLICY: Participants must pay the course fees in order to be considered registered for the course. 

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note that we do not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

Location: Church of Saint John the Baptist, 233 Ste. Claire Ave., Pointe-Claire QC H9S 4E3

First Session: Monday 16 January 2023

Course Length: 6 weeks, Mondays, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Discussion Team: Mary Allen, Jennifer MacGregor

Degree Credit: 0 credits

Course Fees: 

$120.00 (standard tuition)

$80.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$145.00 (standard tuition)

$105.00 (promotion for new students)


NEW REFUND POLICY FOR 6-WEEK COURSES: Course fees are refundable in full before the first session. After the first session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the second session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

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