Literature and Ageing
Title Details

231 Pages

21.6 x 13.8 cm

Series: Essays and Studies

Imprint: D.S.Brewer

Literature and Ageing

Edited by Elizabeth Barry

With Margery Vibe Skagen

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
New approaches to the topics of old age and becoming old depicted in a range of texts from modern literature.
The central focus of this book is the experience of growing old as represented in literature from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day: an experience shaped by changes in longevity, a new science of senescence, the availability of state pensions, and other phenomena of recent history. The collection considers the increasing prominence of stories of ageing, challenging the idea that old age is an uneventful time outside of the parameters of literary narrative. Instead, age increasingly is the story. As the older population swells, political crises are construed as the old stealing from the young, and the rights of older people are sacrificed to the economics of care, it becomes ever more important to think about and question, as literature does, the symbolic aspects of ageing - the cultural imaginary that determines the way that society sees old age.

The work in this volume explores age stories in relation to futurity, precarity and climate change. It brings to light narratives of resistance to colonial imperialism and reproductive futurism framed in terms of age; and tests the lived experience of growing old and the challenge it offers to individualistic conceptions of selfhood, work and care. The literary works examined - hailing from England, North America, Japan and the Caribbean, and including texts by Margaret Drabble, Samuel Beckett and Matthew Thomas - ask how we feel about ageing - so often the determinant of how we think about it.
Introduction: The Difference that Time Makes - Elizabeth Barry and Margery Vibe Skagen
On Not Knowing How to Feel - Helen Small
Ageing in the Anthropocene: The View From and Beyond Margaret Drabble's The Dark Flood Rises - Kathleen Woodward
Age and Anachronism in Contemporary Dystopian Fiction - Sarah Falcus
Grandpaternalism: Kipling's Imperial Care Narrative' - Jacob Jewusiak
"I Could Turn Viper Tomorrow": Challenging Reproductive Futurism in Merle Collins's The Colour of Forgetting - Emily Timms
Critical Interests and Critical Endings: Dementia, Personhood and End of Life in Matthew Thomas's We Are Not Ourselves - Elizabeth Barry
Self-Help in the Historical Landscape of Ageing, Dementia, Work and Gender: Narrative Duplicities and Literature in a "Changing Place Called Old Age" - David Amigoni
Toying with the Spool: Happiness in Old Age in Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape - Peter Svare Valeur
Afterword: When Age Studies and Literary-Cultural Studies Converge: Reading "The Figure of the Old Person" in an Era of Ageism - Margaret Morganroth Gullette

ELIZABETH BARRY is Reader in English at the University of Warwick; she has written widely on modernist literature, medical humanities and age studies.

MARGERY VIBE SKAGEN is Associate Professor in French Literature at the University of Bergen. As a Baudelaire specialist, she works at the interface of literature and other knowledge areas.

Hardcover

9781843845713

October 2020

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9781787449398

October 2020

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9781800100015

October 2020

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Title Details

231 Pages

2.16 x 1.38 cm

Series: Essays and Studies

Imprint: D.S.Brewer