Three Score & Ten: A Literary Journey Through Life
15 March – 29 May 2019
From the Conception of Tristram Shandy to the Death of Ivan Ilych
A Literary Journey Through Life by W.B. Gooderham (@wb_gooderham)
Three Score & Ten is an exhibition-cum-anthology of literary quotes illustrating each year of life from conception to death. Its aim is to view the passage of time through the prism of literature, using a different fictional male and female character for each year, in order to detail the minuscule changes wrought upon our bodies and minds as consciousness blooms, experiences accrue, hopes rise and fall, options expand and then retract.
Of Three Score & Ten Wayne Gooderham says: ‘Three Score & Ten has been over a decade in the making and when compiling it I found it essential to give myself Some Rules.
– All the characters must be fictional.
– I can only use each character once (so if a character is 15 at the start of the novel and 30 at the end he/she can only represent one of those ages).
– Only one male and one female quote for each age.
– The quote has to actually say how old the character is – and has to reveal something about that age, either psychologically, physically, or, ideally, both
– Each quote should be able to stand alone and make sense to a reader without prior knowledge to the book.
– I have to have read and finished the book I’m quoting from.
A Brief Word About The Title.
Obviously the cut-off point in a project like this is a fairly arbitrary one, but I decided quite early on to toe the Biblical line and take my cue from the King James Bible, Psalm 90:10. In doing this I am well aware that I am blithely ignoring scientific advancements, life-style choices, etc. that have extended the human life-span into the high-90s and beyond (I am also conveniently ignoring the Psalm’s caveat that “if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”)
This decision has nothing to do with any deeply-held religious beliefs. Rather, it is born entirely from a) expediency and b) aesthetics:
a) The progress from initial musings to physical book has taken almost a decade – to extend the concept to encompass a full century would take, at a generous estimate, at least another five years of research.
b) Seventy years presents, in my view, a far more symmetrical arc: one that can be summarised by Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man with approximately a neat ten years allocated to each stage between mewling infant and mere oblivion: childhood, adolescence, young adult, middle age, old age.
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