Figuring Age: Women, Bodies, Generations

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Figuring Age engages the virtually invisible subject of older women in western culture. Like other markers of social difference, age is given meaning by a culture. Yet unlike gender and race, the subjects of age and aging have received little sustained attention. Central to Figuring Age is the crucial question of how women are aged by culture. How are older women represented in a visual culture that is dominated by images of youth in television, film, and life performance? How do psychoanalysis, rejuvenation therapy and hormone replacement therapy, the fashion system, cosmetic surgery, and midlife bodybuilding shape our views of aging as well as of the older body itself? What is the "timing" of aging? To what extent is aging a culturally-induced trauma?

Indiana University Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253212368
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1999
  • Series: Theories of Contemporary Culture Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Woodward is Director of the Center for Twentieth Century Studies and Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. She is the author of Aging and Its Discontents: Freud and Other Fictions and At Last, the Real Distinguished Thing: The Late Poems of Eliot, Pound, Stevens, and Williams. She is also the editor of Memory and Desire: Aging—Literature—Psychoanalysis (with Murray Schwartz) and The Myths of Information: Technology and Postindustrial Culture.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Opening the Subject
The Marks of Time 3
Aging and the Scandal of Anachronism 20
The Other End of the Fashion Cycle: Practicing Loss, Learning Decline 34
Historicizing Age
Little Women: The Aging Female Character in Nineteenth-Century British Children's Literature 59
Incubables and Rejuvenates: The Traffic between Technologies of Reproduction and Age-Extension 88
Charcot's Older Women: Bodies of Knowledge at the Interface of Aging Studies and Women's Studies 112
Psychoanalytic Theory and Aging
Social Physics: Inertia, Energy, and Aging 131
Inventing Generational Models: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, Literature 149
Visualizing Age, Performing Age
Trauma and Aging: Marlene Dietrich, Melanie Klein, and Marguerite Duras 171
Not a Jealous Bone 195
Scary Women: Cinema, Surgery, and Special Effects 200
Monster/Beauty: Midlife Bodybuilding as Aesthetic Discipline 212
Figure Model Series, 1991-1995 227
Performing Aging/Performance Crisis (for Norma Desmond, Baby Jane, Margo Channing, Sister George - and Myrtle) 232
Dolly Descending a Staircase: Stardom, Age, and Gender in Times Square 248
Aging between the Ears 264
Touching Surfaces: Photography, Aging, and an Aesthetics of Change 268
Family Portraits
The Well of Wisdom: The Love of Older Women among French Lesbians 297
From Anxiety to Equanimity: Crisis and Generational Continuity on TV, at the Movies, in Life, in Death 310
Genealogy 329
Missing Alice: In Search of a Mother's Voice 336
Making an Exit 340
Notes on Contributors 349
Index 353
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