Cultural Histories of Ageing: Myths, Plots and Metaphors of the Senescent Self


How Can Literary Studies Contribute to a Cultural History of Ageing?Using Literary Sources for a Cultural History of Old AgeThe Senescent SelfThe Janus Face of Old AgeAgeing, Secularization and the Ideology of ProgressFrom a Humanistic to a Gerontological Approach to Old AgeAgeing and Changed Attitudes to DeathThe Need for New and Old Ways of Talking about AgeingSo What Does Literature Have to Offer a Cultural History of Ageing?NotesReferencesNarrative Configurations of Ageing and TimeThe Emergence of Chronometric Time from Cosmological NarrativesNarrative Foundation of Chronometric CalendarsAgeing in Temporal and Functional PerspectivesSome Limits of Chronometric Age in Understanding AgeingThe Search for Intrinsic Clocks of AgeingConfusing CausalitiesAmbiguities of “Ageing”Chronometric Time and Lived Time: An Apparent DichotomyNarrative Configurations of Time and AgeingNarrative Configurations of the Ageing SelfNotesReferencesUsing Literary Sources in a World History of AgeingRêverie and Late Writing: From the Exemplary Montaigne to Rousseau and BaudelaireReverie as “Transitional Phenomena”The History of the WordThree Innovative Late-Life Oeuvres Associated with ReverieThe Apprenticeship of Finitude (and Infinitude)Montaigne’s Back-Shop of the MindCan the Mind Escape the Ageing Body?Reverie and the Flux of All ThingsConclusionNotesReferences“By Nature Led”: Old Age in William Wordsworth’s Poem “Old Man Travelling”Landscape and “Second Nature”Nature and ImitationMeditatio mortis'. Wordsworth and the Stoic TraditionConclusionNotesReferencesAgeing and Creativity in Goethe’s Last WorksPoetryWilhelm Meister’s Journeyman Years and FaustConclusionNotesReferencesSenescence at the Russian Fin-de-Siècle: On the Ageless and the Ageing Self of Lev TolstoyTolstoy and the Dream of an Ideal AgeingIdeal and Reality: Contradictions and Conflicts of Tolstoy’s Old AgeThe Legacy of the Old TolstoyNotesReferencesTaking Care of the Self: Ageing in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian GrayCare of the Self and the Self as Evidence of Knowledge/PowerThe Taboo of AgeingNotesReferencesThomas Hardy and the Question of SenescenceHardy’s Narrative and the Agon with TimeOld Age and the Ambiguous Category of the GrotesqueThe Challenge of Old Age and Hardy’s Late StyleWessex Poems and the Time-Torn SelfTowards a Reconciliation?ConclusionNotesReferences“I Do Not Write a Life”: Hamsun, Psychiatry and Life NarrativeNarrative and Anti-narrative LivesPsychiatric Life WritingThe Psychiatric Report on the Senescent SelfAgeing in On Overgrown PathsConclusionNotesReferencesSolitude and Senescence: May Sarton’s Sense of an EndingSolitude and the Generation of Spontaneous Narrative GerontologyMay Sarton Finds Her Voice: Solitude and Senescence AgainMay Sarton Responding to the Two-Cultures: Illness and Thwarted Ambition Amidst Science and LiteratureLate Style and the Return “Home”ConclusionNotesReferencesFrench Female Literary Milestones in the History of AgeingSimone de Beauvoir: Between Ethical Anger and Political Anti-ageismAgeing as a Transpersonal (Auto)pathography: Ernaux, CixousFighting Spirit and Marathonian Ageing: Françoise Héritier, Marceline Loridan-IvensConclusionNotesReferences“Je suis vieux et très contemporain”: Old Age and Modernity in the Works of Michel HouellebecqRepresenting Old AgeDisappearance of Old Age?Old Age and PathosOld Age and Aggression in the Contemporary WorldOld Age As a Point of View: The Feeling of Being OldOld Age and ValuesOld Age at the Heart of WritingNotesReferencesElderly People’s Homes in Contemporary Literature: A New Old World by Mariusz SieniewiczA Journey of a Young Protagonist to the World of the OldThe Island of the Elderly as a Work CampInstitutionalized Care: Extravagant ConfinementIn Jest But More Often in EarnestSieniewicz Reading Houellebecq?A Polish Predecessor of SieniewiczThe Rebellion or the Solution at HandNotesReferencesAn Ageing Woman’s Dilemma: The Varieties of Silence in Merethe Lindstrom’s Novel Days in the History of SilenceDementia NarrativesConfessions from the Kitchen TableSilence as Signifying PracticesDementia, Silent Memory and Silence As CareQuestions of Care and Family DynamicsThe Unspoken and the UnspeakableNotesReferencesNotes on Contributors