Three Score & Ten is an anthology of literary quotes illustrating every year of one’s life from conception to death. Basically 0 – 70 (or minus 9 months to 70 if you prefer).
The overall aim of this project is to view the different male and female literary characters as if they were a pair of individuals, following their progress through life as they are shaped by experience and decisions are made, talents are blunted and youthful hope turns to resigned despair and failing talents – or perhaps even growing maturity and contentment. At very least, death (spoiler alert: the project doesn’t end happily).
I even gave myself some rules to give me the illusion of some kind of method:
– All the characters have to be fictional.
– I can only use fiction: novels, novellas, short stories.
– For consistency in tone, I cannot use children’s literature.
– I have to have read & finished the book I’m quoting from.
– 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.
Obviously, this is all based on my own personal reading so I’m bound to have missed the odd character who is a better representative of an age than the one I’ve chosen. Do feel free to point out any glaring omissions and apologies in advance – though in my defence, I am venturing outside of my reading comfort zone as much as possible and have tried to find iconic examples – so even if my initial aim for the project fails miserably then at the very least I will have come up with a list of ages of famous literary characters.
Three Score & Ten will be published in book form by the British Library, Spring 2017.
Thanks for reading.