Three Score and Ten Plus: Readings of Lives at Seventy


Course Description

February 2022 Update: This course will now take place entirely on Zoom.

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) 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):

    • And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyn Saucier (9781552452684)
    • Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout (9780812986471)
    • An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic by Daniel Mendelsohn (9780771057441)

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

Priority is given to students who pay upon registration.

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.

Course Details

First Session: Thursday 17 March 2022

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

Discussion Team: Anne Fitzpatrick, Bernadette Griffin-Donovan, Paul Hedlin

Degree Credit: 1.5 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)

Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third 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.

If you are a RETURNING student

If you are NEW at TMI

Questions? Stuck? Give us a call at (514) 935-9585
or email us at