41 Comments
May 6Liked by Henry Oliver

Superb list - but don't forget Mary Wesley!

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Oh yes of course—I enjoyed the biography about her v much, such resilience!

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Hokusai was into his seventies when he painted the The Great Wave. He thought he was still an apprentice, might get the hang of things in his 80s and finaly hit his stride in his 90s.

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One of my favourites!

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a good gallop through his life here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08k1b0q

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I have a pile of notes somewhere waiting to be written up for a post about him

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May 6Liked by Henry Oliver

Really looking forward to receiving my copy, it’s an exciting week.

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🥳

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I looked at Churchill and how he’d have been remembered if he’d died in 1939. As you say, he was regarded pretty much as finished.

https://theideaslab.substack.com/p/reputation-the-luck-of-churchill

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Jun 4Liked by Henry Oliver

Related to #39, there’s a great profile of Audrey Sutherland’s son at age 75 in the New Yorker on 6/3/24: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2024/06/10/jock-sutherland-profile-surfing

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May 13·edited May 13Liked by Henry Oliver

Wonderful list! Did you know that Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Guides in America, soon renamed Girl Scouts of the USA (founded in England by 50-something Agnes Baden-Powell, the sister of Boy Scouts' founder Lord Baden Powell) at the age of 51? She and Agnes are such role models not only for girls, but for middle-aged women everywhere.

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I did not—splendid example!

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Grateful to have read this - a solid boost of inspiration for me! Thanks to Kirsten Powers for including this in her Sunday recommendations. I've re-ordered your book and look forward to reading it!

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Woo thanks!

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Well, that's a nice uplifting post being 62, thank you.

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Oh good!

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This is fantastic!

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Thanks!

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May 8Liked by Henry Oliver

Thanks for this list! I’m bookmarking it for current-stage-of-midlife reference 😊

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Almost all of Hobbes's work, including Leviathan, was written after he turned 50.

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Great one!

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I'll turn to this list whenever I'm feeling past it! And Diana Athill wrote her first, wonderful memoir at 43 and went on from there...

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Oh yes she’s a great one good thought

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And Hope Against Hope, the incredible memoir written by Nadezhda Mandelstam in her sixties

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May 6Liked by Henry Oliver

Ruhollah Khomeini began to gain significant recognition as a political figure in the 1960s, particularly with his outspoken opposition to the Shah of Iran and the White Revolution. He was in his early 60s at this time. His political activities led to his exile in 1964 when he was about 62 years old. However, his most significant rise to power came when he returned to Iran during the Iranian Revolution in 1979 at the age of 76, subsequently becoming the Supreme Leader of Iran.

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I saw this recently! Wish I’d included it in the book.

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Proust was fairly late in publishing In Search of Lost Time.

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May 20Liked by Henry Oliver

And late blooming is one of the things the book is about. The narrator spends the first six and half volumes putting off his work until the next day, or being too sick to work, or thinking that it is pointless because he has no talent. Then very suddenly he realises that his life up to that point has not been wasted and in fact has been necessary to provide him with the insight and material that he needs to produce his work.

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Hume and Nietzsche published and got fame at a young age, but Kant was 57 when he published the Critique of Pure Reason as well.

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I count Hume. First book flopped and he had a slow development afterwards!

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Anthony Burgess was 39 when he published his first novel, and went on to write 32 more, plus 25 books of non-fiction and over 250 pieces of music. Despite A Clockwork Orange being seen as a cult youth book, he published it when he was 45.

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Excellent stuff!

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