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Aging and Identity: A Humanities Perspective

Overview

Viewing artistic works through the lens of both contemporary gerontological theory and postmodernist concepts, the contributing scholars examine literary treatments, cinematic depictions, and artistic portraits of aging from Shakespeare to Hemingway, from Horton Foote to Disney, from Rembrandt to Alice Neale, while also comparing the attitudes toward aging in Native American, African American, and Anglo American literature. The examples demonstrate that long before gerontologists endorsed a Janus-faced model of ...

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Overview

Viewing artistic works through the lens of both contemporary gerontological theory and postmodernist concepts, the contributing scholars examine literary treatments, cinematic depictions, and artistic portraits of aging from Shakespeare to Hemingway, from Horton Foote to Disney, from Rembrandt to Alice Neale, while also comparing the attitudes toward aging in Native American, African American, and Anglo American literature. The examples demonstrate that long before gerontologists endorsed a Janus-faced model of aging, artists were celebrating the diversity of the elderly, challenging the bio-medical equation of senescence with inevitable senility. Underlying all of this discussion is the firm conviction that cultural texts construct as well as encode the conventional perceptions of their society; that literature, the arts, and the media not only mirror society's mores but can also help to create and enforce them.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Examines how the humanities have contributed to the construction of stereotype images of aging in industrial society and how they can be used to deconstruct those same images. Demonstrates ways to use examples of aging in literature, the arts, and the media to highlight individual diversity and offer alternatives to limiting stereotypes. The 17 essays cover the aging male and female in literature, and aging in the community and in the fine and popular arts. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275964795
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/30/1999
  • Pages: 270
  • Lexile: 1400L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

SARA MUNSON DEATS is Distinguished Professor and Chair of the English Department at the University of South Florida, and Co-director of the Center of Applied Humanities.

LAGRETTA TALLENT LENKER is Director of the Division of Lifelong Learning and Co-director of the Center for Aplied Humanities and the Florida Center for Writers at the University of South Florida.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Pt. I The Aging Male in Literature
1 The Dialectic of Aging in Shakespeare's King Lear and The Tempest 23
2 Shakespeare Teaching Geriatrics: Lear and Prospero as Case Studies in Aged Heterogeneity 33
3 Why? versus Why Not?: Potentialities of Aging in Shaw's Back to Methuselah 47
4 Hemingway's Aging Heroes and the Concept of Phronesis 61
5 Bertrand Russell in His Nineties: Aging and the Problem of Biography 77
Pt. II The Aging Female in Literature
6 Work, Contentment, and Identity in Aging Women in Literature 89
7 Old Maids and Old Mansions: The Barren Sisters of Hawthorne, Dickens, and Faulkner 103
8 The Aging Artist: The Sad but Instructive Case of Virginia Woolf 115
Pt. III Aging in the Community
9 The Sacred Ghost: The Role of the Elder(ly) in Native American Literature 129
10 Aging and the African-American Community: The Case of Ernest J. Gaines 139
11 Aging and the Continental Community: Good Counsel in the Writings of Two Mature European Princesses, Marguerite de Navarre and Madame Palatine 149
12 Aging and Academe: Caricature or Character 161
13 Aging and the Public Schools: Visits of Charity - The Young Look at the Old 169
Pt. IV Aging in the Fine and Popular Arts
14 Aging and Contemporary Art 183
15 The Return Home: Affirmations and Transformations of Identity in Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful 191
16 Animated Gerontophobia: Ageism, Sexism, and the Disney Villainess 201
17 8 1/2 and Me: The Thirty-Two-Year Difference 213
Notes 229
Bibliography 231
Index 247
About the Editors and Contributors 255
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